Thailand fears power shortage due to rapid economic growth

Nov 11, 2003 01:00 AM

The Thai government fears that the country's rapid economic recovery could lead to increased demand for electric power next year and possible power shortages in some parts of the country.
Tienchai Jongpipien, chairman of the government's sub-committee on electricity utilization, was quoted as saying that demand in the Kingdom would reach 122.02 mm units, or 19,029 MW, next year due to the government's readjustment of the gross domestic product (GDP) growth to 8 %.

The increase in consumption for the last fiscal year, from October 2002 to September 2003, was higher than the expected 5 %, climbing by 7.7 %, or 116.7 mm units, due to business expansion as Thailand's economy grew by 6 %, Tienchai said. He admitted that the increased demand for power might cause shortages in the Northeast, because of the insufficient number of power plants at present.
Now, the Nam Pong power plant in Khon Kaen province and the Pak Mool Dam plant in Ubon Ratchathani province supply most of the energy for the Northeast, and there are not enough water resources in the region to build another dam to generate more power, he said. Natural-gas resources in the area are also insufficient for use as a fuel for a new power plant, Tienchai added.

Thailand has to strengthen cooperation with Laos to generate more electric power for the Kingdom. On Nov. 9, after a long delay, the state-run Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) signed a power purchase agreement in Vientiane with Nam Theun 2 Power to buy 995 MW over 25 years.
Starting in 2009, EGAT will pay 1.64 baht ($ 0.04) per kWh for the output from the 1,070 MW, $ 1.2 bn project, contributing $ 230 mm a year to the neighbouring country's economy.

Source: Xinhua English Newswire
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