By THE NATION
The council also approved power plant projects in Surat Thani and in the Western region.
Energy Minister Siri Jirapongphan said that the NERC agreed on the new PDP - covering 2018 to 2037 – at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday. The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) was tasked with planning for Thailand's power transmission system development for higher power security, grid modernisation and for a regional grid connection centre covering five countries – Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Malaysia and Cambodia.
The Egat will also team up with the Provincial Electricity Authority to develop a smart grid in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) to facilitate the needs of investors and enable power discounts.
“In the new PDP, although Egat's power production will be lower, it will take more responsibility for the system security from the grid connection. It will not only receive fees from transmission lines but play a role in joining in with investments. Egat is expected to finish its planning late this year,” Siri said.
The NERC also agreed on a 1,400 MW power plant project in Surat Thani and a 1,400 MW plant in the West, of which a part will replace Ratchaburi Power Generating Holding's 700 MW Tri Energy power plant. The company’s contract will end in July 2020.
The Committee on Energy Policy and the Energy Regulatory Committee will also consider a solar power plant project for community needs, with capacity of 100 megawatts per year for 10 years from 2019. The project is expected to begin in the middle of this year.
This project's power generation is not only aimed at people's homes but also for rural schools and subdistrict hospitals.
In the new PDP, the country's power production capacity will rise from 46,090 MW in 2017 to 77,211 MW in 2037. New capacity is expected at 56,431 MW from 2019 to 2037.
Of the total estimated new capacity, 20,766 MW will come from renewable power plants, 13,156 MW from combined cycle power plants, 2,112 MW from cogeneration power plants, 1,740 MW from lignite or coal-fired power plants and 500 MW from pumped storage hydropower plants. About 8,300 MW will be from new or replacement power plants, 5,857 MW from imports and 4,000 MW under the energy conservation plan.
In this new PDP, the NERC also approved an increase in power production capacity from waste by 400 MW. Combined with the 500 MW capacity in the earlier plan, the new power production capacity from waste will be 900 MW. Biomass power production capacity will rise to 120 MW.
In 2037, 53 per cent of the country's power production will be generated by natural gas, 35 per cent from non-fossil fuels and 12 per cent from coal. The retail power price throughout the PDP will be Bt3.50-Bt3.63 per unit, or about Bt3.58 per unit on average. The plan will be reviewed every five years or upon significant changes in factors.
Preeyanart Soontornwata, chief executive officer of B Grimm Power Plc and chairperson of the Association of Private Power Producers, said that the extension of cogeneration SPPs’ contracts after a two-year delay will boost the confidence of investors.