New power plant in Thailand’s South to improve electricity situation

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amrong Saiya, Assistant Director of Chana Power Plant
Damrong Saiya, Assistant Director of Chana Power Plant. Photo: Arno Maierbrugger

The times of frequent power shortages in Thailand’s South seem to be over, at least temporarily. With the second block of the Chana Power Plant in Songkhla province, a coal and natural gas power plant project by the Electricity Authority of Thailand (EGAT) powered by Siemens and Australian and South Korean suppliers, more than half of the growing power demand of Thailand’s southern provinces can now be satisfied, Damrong Saiya, Assistant Director of Chana Power Plant, told Inside Investor.

The current demand for electricity in Thailand’s South is over 2,500 megawatts, with local electricity generating capacity being 2,115 megawatts in 2013 and additional 600 megawatts provided via power grid from Bangkok. The Chana Plant now provides 1,570 megawatts after block 2 went online in 2014, while some smaller plants in the region and a hydroelectric power station deliver the rest.

Saiya said that electricity demand in the region has risen by 6.1 per cent annually over the past decade, and the forecast is 5.46 per cent further rise per year up to 2018 when demand will begin to exceed supply. To avoid this, EGAT plans to add an oil-fueled block to the power station, realising that the region’s economy getting more energy-hungry and investors will more likely invest more when they enjoy stable power supply.

Chana Power Plant Thailand_Arno Maierbrugger
Chana Power Plant in Thailand’s South Photo: Arno Maierbrugger

The Chana Power Plant uses – apart from coal – natural gas from the offshore Thailand-Malaysia Joint Development Area, a major source of natural gas for power generation managed by both Thailand’s oil and gas major PTT and its Malaysian counterpart Petronas. Around 57 per cent of natural gas used in Thailand comes from the Gulf of Thailand, 5 per cent from resources in the Northeast and 38 per cent from Myanmar, according to Saiya.

In terms of current power consumption, most electricity in Thailand is consumed in Central Thailand including Bangkok and the industrial hubs of Chonburi (73 per cent), followed by just 10 per cent in Isaan in the Northeast, 9 per cent in the South and 8 per cent in the Chiang Mai region in the Northwest.

However, this doesn’t mean that all problems are solved. In May 2013, a massive power blackout hit 14 southern provinces, including the tourism hubs of Krabi and Phuket, due to a transmission failure that cut off the supply from the central region. It was the largest blackout ever in Thailand.

Alternatives to oil, natural gas and coal in energy generation are underrepresented in Thailand. There aren’t that many large hydropower plants, and solar power projects are just slowly gaining traction and are – according to Saiya – “too expensive” for private property owners given insufficient subsidies. Nuclear power remains an option in Thailand’s power generation roadmap, with 2 per cent of power supply envisaged to be delivered from nuclear power plants starting from 2026, and 5 per cent from 2030.

The Chana Power Plant's modern control room. Photo: Arno Maierbrugger
The Chana Power Plant’s modern control room. Photo: Arno Maierbrugger
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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Damrong Saiya, Assistant Director of Chana Power Plant. Photo: Arno Maierbrugger

The times of frequent power shortages in Thailand’s South seem to be over, at least temporarily. With the second block of the Chana Power Plant in Songkhla province, a coal and natural gas power plant project by the Electricity Authority of Thailand (EGAT) powered by Siemens and Australian and South Korean suppliers, more than half of the growing power demand of Thailand’s southern provinces can now be satisfied, Damrong Saiya, Assistant Director of Chana Power Plant, told Inside Investor.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

amrong Saiya, Assistant Director of Chana Power Plant
Damrong Saiya, Assistant Director of Chana Power Plant. Photo: Arno Maierbrugger

The times of frequent power shortages in Thailand’s South seem to be over, at least temporarily. With the second block of the Chana Power Plant in Songkhla province, a coal and natural gas power plant project by the Electricity Authority of Thailand (EGAT) powered by Siemens and Australian and South Korean suppliers, more than half of the growing power demand of Thailand’s southern provinces can now be satisfied, Damrong Saiya, Assistant Director of Chana Power Plant, told Inside Investor.

The current demand for electricity in Thailand’s South is over 2,500 megawatts, with local electricity generating capacity being 2,115 megawatts in 2013 and additional 600 megawatts provided via power grid from Bangkok. The Chana Plant now provides 1,570 megawatts after block 2 went online in 2014, while some smaller plants in the region and a hydroelectric power station deliver the rest.

Saiya said that electricity demand in the region has risen by 6.1 per cent annually over the past decade, and the forecast is 5.46 per cent further rise per year up to 2018 when demand will begin to exceed supply. To avoid this, EGAT plans to add an oil-fueled block to the power station, realising that the region’s economy getting more energy-hungry and investors will more likely invest more when they enjoy stable power supply.

Chana Power Plant Thailand_Arno Maierbrugger
Chana Power Plant in Thailand’s South Photo: Arno Maierbrugger

The Chana Power Plant uses – apart from coal – natural gas from the offshore Thailand-Malaysia Joint Development Area, a major source of natural gas for power generation managed by both Thailand’s oil and gas major PTT and its Malaysian counterpart Petronas. Around 57 per cent of natural gas used in Thailand comes from the Gulf of Thailand, 5 per cent from resources in the Northeast and 38 per cent from Myanmar, according to Saiya.

In terms of current power consumption, most electricity in Thailand is consumed in Central Thailand including Bangkok and the industrial hubs of Chonburi (73 per cent), followed by just 10 per cent in Isaan in the Northeast, 9 per cent in the South and 8 per cent in the Chiang Mai region in the Northwest.

However, this doesn’t mean that all problems are solved. In May 2013, a massive power blackout hit 14 southern provinces, including the tourism hubs of Krabi and Phuket, due to a transmission failure that cut off the supply from the central region. It was the largest blackout ever in Thailand.

Alternatives to oil, natural gas and coal in energy generation are underrepresented in Thailand. There aren’t that many large hydropower plants, and solar power projects are just slowly gaining traction and are – according to Saiya – “too expensive” for private property owners given insufficient subsidies. Nuclear power remains an option in Thailand’s power generation roadmap, with 2 per cent of power supply envisaged to be delivered from nuclear power plants starting from 2026, and 5 per cent from 2030.

The Chana Power Plant's modern control room. Photo: Arno Maierbrugger
The Chana Power Plant’s modern control room. Photo: Arno Maierbrugger
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