Mae Moh power station

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Mae Moh power station is a 2,400-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station in Mae Moh, Thailand.

Four to six units have been proposed for replacement.


The undated satellite photo below shows the plant.

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Background on Plant

In 1953, lignite coal was found at Mae Moh basin, leading to construction of the Mae Moh lignite power plant. Three 75 MW generators were installed from 1978-1981, Units 4-7 (150 MW each) were constructed in 1984 and 1985, and Units 8-13 (300 MW each) were built 1989-1995, for a total of 13 generators (2,625 MW). The Electricity Generation Authority of Thailand has a license to operate a coal mine in the province to supply fuel to the power plant.

The plant is fueled by the Mae Moh coal mine, an open pit lignite mine which produces 40,000 tons per day. With an area of 135 square kilometers, it is considered the largest coal-fired power plant in Southeast Asia.[1]

On its website the Italian-Thai Development, a major Thai construction company, states that it worked on Units 8 - 13 between 1986 and 1992. The lists its role as being the "fabrication and delivery of steel work for gas and air ducts of the boiler buildings, turbine buildings and cooling water system."[2]

Generating units 1 and 2 were retired on March 1, 2000, while unit 3 was taken out of service in 1999. As a result, the current total generating capacity of Mae Moh power plant is 2,400 MW.[3]


According to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), it has been involved in Mae Moh mine for financing several units. It approved a series of loans amounting to more than US$352 million for the past twenty years.[4][5]

Environmental and Social Impacts

According to Greenpeace, the Mae Moh power plant approximately contributes more than four million tons of carbon dioxide emission in the atmosphere, annually. In addition, around 1.6 million tons of sulfur gas is released from the power plant into the air everyday. Greenpeace also said that from the time of the implementation of the Mae Moh coal power plant, more than 30,000 people have been displaced and thousands acquired severe respiratory problems, due to the inhalation and exposure to sulfur dioxide emitted from the mine. In October 2003, the State Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning Office found high levels of arsenic, chromium and manganese in almost all water sources within the vicinity of the plant.[6]

The fly ash has also affected the crops of the villagers. According to one villager, her planted vegetables and fruits died because of the toxic that the coal power plant emitted. Another villager recounted that her pineapple plantation wilt over the years. Farmlands have been negatively affected by acid rain which is attributed to the sulfuric dioxide released by the coal power plant. In May 2004, the Thai Provincial court awarded US$142,500 to the villagers for crop damages caused by the coal power plant.[7]

To mitigate the negative impacts of the plant, pollution control devices, such as flue gas desulfurization (FGD) and ionizing wet scrubbers, were installed by the government.[1]

Involuntary Resettlement Policy

Due to the implementation of the project, more than 30,000 people have been displaced. According to reports, Thailand’s cabinet previously offered to build houses for those who were affected. However, there has reportedly been no progress.[1]

Replacement units

Units 4 through 7 (150 MW each) of the power station are being replaced.[8] As of 2014 TEAM Consulting Engineering and Management Co., Ltd. is working on the environmental and health impact assessment of the 600 MW coal project.[9] In March 2015 Alstom and Marubeni Corporation were contracted to provide a 600 MW ultra-supercritical unit, at a cost of US$1 billion.[10]

The Thailand Power Development Plan for 2015-2035 forecasts that the units 4-7 replacement (600 MW) will be operational in 2018. An additional replacement for units 8-9, totaling 425 MW, is planned for completion in 2022.[11]

Community opposition

In 2003 communities near the power station and lignite mines sued EGAT in Administrative Court seeking redress from mining power generation fallouts. In February 2015 the Supreme Administrative Court ordered the Electricity Generation Authority of Thailand to set up a committee to consider evacuating villagers affected by pollution from the lignite mines and Mae Moh power plant out of the five-kilometre radius from the facilities.[12]

Project Details for Mae Moh replacement

  • Sponsor: Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT)
  • Location: Mae Moh sub-district, Mae Moh district, Lampang province
  • Coordinates: 18.296, 99.752 (exact)
  • Status: Pre-permit development (Unit 4-7 replacement); Announced (Unit 8-9 replacement)
  • Gross Capacity:
    • Unit 4-7 replacement: 600 MW total
    • Unit 8-9 replacement: 425 MW total
  • Type: Ultra-supercritical 
  • Projected in service: 2018 (Unit 4-7 replacement); 2022 (Unit 8-9 replacement)
  • Coal Type: Lignite
  • Coal Source: Mae Moh basin 
  • Source of financing:

Articles and resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "The Grievous Mae Moh Coal Power Plant" ADB, February 2, 2008.
  2. Italian-Thai Development, "Industrial and power plants", Italian-Thai Development website, accessed May 2011.
  3. "Mae Moh power plant," EGAT, accessed Jan 2014.
  4. Rosien, Jessica. “ADB’s Dirty Involvement in Coal-Fired Power.” Bankwatch. Vol. III, Is. 2, December 2004.
  5. Asian Development Bank. “Project Performance Audit Report on the Third Power Transmission (Sector) Project (Loan 1170-THA) and Fourth Power Transmission (Sector) Project (Loan 1245-THA) in Thailand.” Manila: ADB, September 2002.
  6. Greenpeace Southeast Asia. “All Emission, No Solution: Energy Hypocrisy and the Asian Development Bank in Southeast Asia.” Greenpeace Briefing. May 2005.
  7. Meesubkwang, Saksit. “More Locals Claim Poisoning by Mae Moh Power Station in Lampang.” Chiang Mai Mail. Vol. V, No. 26, June 24-June 30, 2006.
  8. "Summary of Thailand Power Development Plan 2012-203, Revision 3," Ministry of Energy, June 2012, Table 4.1
  9. "Replacement of Units 4 – 7 at Mae Moh Power Plant, Lampang," Team Group, accessed Feb 2014.
  10. "Alstom to build the first ultra-supercritical lignite-fired power plant in Asia," March 09, 2015
  11. Thailand Power Development Plan, 2015-2035, Thailand Ministry of Energy, May 2015
  12. "Egat ordered to evacuate affected villagers from Mae Moh power plant," Thai PBS, February 10, 2015

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