Egat moves coal plant along
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Egat moves coal plant along

Hin Kong Co is established to handle new power generation license of Ratch Group Plc at 1,400 Megawatts for two power generators.
Hin Kong Co is established to handle new power generation license of Ratch Group Plc at 1,400 Megawatts for two power generators.

The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) is speeding up the process for a long-delayed coal-fired power plant in Chachoengsao province as newly appointed Energy Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong takes the ministry's helm.

National Power Supply was granted an operating licence as an independent power producer (IPP) for a 540-megawatt coal-fired power plant 12 years ago, but the project was opposed by local communities.

NPS is wholly owned by a large pulp and paper maker, Advance Agro (AA).

AA won an auction in 2007. But after the licence was granted, a new constitution was approved in 2007 with a law mandating environmental and health impact assessments (EHIAs) before operations could begin.

Approvals of EHIAs by the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (Onep) have sometimes taken more than a decade, and there is still no clarity on when AA will receive approval.

Patana Sangsriroujana, Egat's deputy governor for policy and planning, said Egat is planning to resume and sign a power purchase agreement (PPA) with NPS.

Having received their IPP licences in the same period, other winning peers Gulf Energy Development and Glow Energy have been operating for several years.

NPS also asked the Energy Ministry to consider the possibility of shifting the fuel for power generation from coal to natural gas.

In May, the Energy Policy Administrative Committee (Epac) approved NPS's request with power generation remaining at the same capacity. The Energy Regulatory Commission was assigned to negotiate a power price for purchase by Egat before the PPA signing date.

SET-listed Ratch Group has announced progress for the 1,400MW Hin Kong power plant project and has entered into a 25-year PPA with Egat.

Egat owns a 45% stake in Ratch.

Two power generators with 700MW capacity each are fired by natural gas and located in Hin Kong subdistrict, Ratchaburi province.

The first block of the power project will start operating in 2024 and the second block will begin the following year, said Kijja Sripatthangkura, Ratch's chief executive.

"The development will be done under the new wholly owned subsidiary Hin Kong," he said.

Mr Kijja said the Hin Kong power plant will be built at the site of the Tri Energy power plant, which will be retired in 2020.

Tri Energy, also a Ratch subsidiary, has a 700MW licence, with an additional capacity of 700MW awarded by Epac.

Ratch offers an average power rate lower than those of other private power producers, and Epac agreed that the rate was fair for Egat and end-users.

As a result, Hin Kong will design the first 700MW unit to be repowered, while another 700MW will be installed with a new power generator.

Ratch is conducting a feasibility study and awaiting approval from Onep.

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