Ratch pulls out of JV for Cambodia power plant


Company analysis points to difficulty in selling products back to Thailand

Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding will cancel its joint-venture agreement with KK Power to build a 1.8-gigawatt coal-fired power plant in Koh Kong province of southwestern Cambodia.
Pongdith Potchana, chief executive of Ratch, said yesterday that the company had revised the plan after its analysis indicated that it would face difficulty selling the output back to Thailand and that it might have to wait for up to 14 years before it could do so. 
Regarding the future power supply to the Eastern region, the government has agreed to purchase up to 5GW from major independent power producers (IPPs), which will start feeding the grid in 2021. 
The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) will put up transmission lines solely to serve the IPP plants, while small IPPs will add to the supply. All these indicate that the region will have enough supply and might not need to import from Cambodia.
“We believe that Egat will not install the 300-400 kilometres of transmission lines to connect with the planned Koh Kong plant in order to buy electricity to feed the area when it will have sufficient power supply,” he said. 
The Koh Kong plant would have to serve mainly Cambodia, but from the company’s evaluation, demand there might not be enough to make a 1.8GW plant commercially viable. This made Ratch review the plan and think that it should not move ahead with it.
The company will advise KK formally in writing of its wish to withdraw from the project. Pongdith believes that the Cambodian side will understand the reason.
The Thai government has yet to have any agreement to purchase electricity from Cambodia.
Ratch and KK signed the 50:50 deal on March 25 of last year to develop the Koh Kong plant.