Clearing things up
Re: “Songkhla power plant sit-in an energy wake-up call”, (Opinion, Aug 25).
The Egat has implemented a coal-fired power plant project in Songkhla’s Thepha district under the Thailand Power Development Plan 2015 (BE 2558-2579) to improve the power system’s reliability in southern Thailand that currently relies on electricity transmission from the central region and to diversify fuel sources for power generation.
On Aug 30, the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (Onep) together with Egat officially announced that after one year and 10 months of completing the Environmental and Health Impact Assessment (EHIA) process, the EHIA report was approved by state environmental experts. The power plant’s EHIA study involved proper public participation from the beginning. As required by the law, three public hearings on this power project were held. All concerns and suggestions delivered by advocates and opponents were included, while representatives of the opponents were invited to express their concerns to state environmental experts. All information from the public hearings was publicised for transparency. On March 27, the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) organised forums in three provinces, namely Songkhla, Krabi, and Surat Thani to create understanding and provide the public with a channel to voice their opinions on the energy situation in the 14 southern provinces.
After this, the complete EHIA report will be submitted to Onep before being forwarded to the National Environment Board to be considered by the cabinet as required by law.
The present technology of coal-fired power plants, called Clean Coal Technology which is globally used, is equipped with a pollutant removal system which can control emissions to be three times lower than standard levels. As a result, the power plant will not have an impact on communities and the environment.
The Egat has promoted the development of renewable energy in parallel with fossil fuel power plants, which also complies with the Alternative Energy Development Plan 2015 (BE 2558-2579) that promotes renewable energy use in every sector. The target of electricity generation from renewable energy in 2036 is set at 15-20%, compared to its share in 2014 at 9%. In other words, the country’s renewable energy capacity will increase from 4,494.03MW to 19,684.40MW, and 514MW of them will be developed by Egat. To improve efficiency and reduce the limitations of power generation from renewable energy, Egat has assigned importance to technology and innovation development such as energy storage systems and hybrid energy systems which combine two or more renewable energy sources in the same area as well as developing a smart grid to help manage the electricity system.
For the transition to renewable energy, the fossil fuel power plants are still needed to keep power system security. As a backup, these power plants allow renewable energy capacity to be added to the system without problems.
SANIT NIYAMAKOM Director of Corporate Communications Division