By Danny Marks
Bangkok, July 6, 2016
Last Thursday, the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) confirmed that it will construct six new coal-fired power plants by 2025. On many levels, building these new power plants seems not to be a well thought-out plan.
At the local level, coal-fired power plants would adversely affect communities in these areas. Where such plants have been constructed in southern Thailand, they have polluted waters, reduced fish stocks, damaged crops, and contributed to a high concentration of respiratory disease. Nonetheless, Egat has yet to conduct comprehensive environmental impact assessments (EIAs) in areas which would be affected by these new plants.
Aside from environmental damage, there are economic and livelihood questions. In particular, the new power plant in Krabi is likely to hurt tourism. “If this power plant happens, southern Thailand will lose a lot,” said Krabi resident Akradej Chakjinda. The majority of residents in these areas do not want the projects and a number have voiced their disagreement through protests. If Egat goes ahead with these plants, the agency will do so against the wishes of these residents.
At the national level, Thailand does not necessarily need this additional energy. Despite previous attempts to liberalise and reform the sector, weak regulation, a lack of regulatory oversight, and little domestic competition enable Egat to exert significant power over the country’s electricity development. Egat has created a cost-plus tariff system which guarantees that Egat earns revenues based upon the amount of electricity it sells.
Read more at Bangkok Post