Clear­ing things up

Bangkok Post - - WORLD -

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

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