Krabi power station

From SourceWatch
Jump to: navigation, search

This article is part of the Coal Issues portal on SourceWatch, a project of CoalSwarm and the Center for Media and Democracy. See here for help on adding material to CoalSwarm.

This article is part of the CoalSwarm coverage of Thailand and coal
Sub-articles:
Related articles:

Krabi power station is a proposed 870-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station planned for Krabi, Thailand.

Location

The map below shows the location of Krabi, the approximate location for the proposed plant.

Loading map...

Background

The project is being initiated by the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT). The 870-megawatt coal-fired power plant is planned for Krabi's Nua Khlong district, while the Ban Klong Rua coal port would be established at Ban Klong Ruo.[1][2] The Thailand Power Development Plan for 2015-2036 forecasts the power station would be completed in 2019.[3]

According to a 2014 report by Greenpeace, the Ban Klong Ruo coal seaport project is a new plan by EGAT to find ways of transporting imported coal from Indonesia, Australia and Africa to its coal-fired power plant. Throughout the year, including the monsoon season, the unloading of coal from larger ships to smaller ones would take place at sea around Koh Lanta. The coal will be unloaded again at Ban Klong Ruo coal seaport to an 8.4 kilometre-long conveyer belt to deliver coal to the power plant.[1]

In March 2013, activists and locals protested new coal plants in Thailand, including Krabi. The action followed a protest by 500 Krabi villagers on February 11 who claimed that a coal-fired plant in their area from 1964 to 1995 had left many of them with respiratory problems and cancer.[4]

In 2014 it was reported that villagers in the southern province of Krabi had come out in strong opposition to the planned project, saying it would cause pollution and damage eco-tourism industries which generate billions in baht for local people each year.[1]

In March 2015 the Thailand Government’s Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (ONEP) rejected the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report on the Ban Klong Rua coal seaport and the Krabi coal-fired power plant. A panel reviewing the EIA said it "does not present comprehensive information, nor does it incorporate all concerns from every sector." The Protect Krabi Network presented ONEP with 44,000 signatures from those who support the protection of the area where the coal seaport and coal-power plant would be located.[5]

After a well-publicized hunger strike against the plant, the Thai government agreed in July 2015 to set up a joint committee to review the environmental and health assessment of the project and consider renewable energy alternatives. While the coalition opposing the plant also wanted a freeze on a tender for the project's construction by the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, the government said bidding would proceed but promised that no contracts would be signed during the project's review.[6]

On August 5, 2015, two private consortiums submitted bids to construct the plant: one was a consortium comprising Italian-Thai Development Plc and Power Construction Corp of China, and the second was a joint venture between Alstom (Thailand) and Marubeni of Japan. Egat deputy governor Rattanachai Namwong said he expected the winning bidder would be announced in four months.[7][8]

In September 2015 EGAT said the plant would have only a small environmental impact on the area. The findings were immediately met with skepticism by many locals. The tripartite panel approved by the PM in July to review the project was still not set up because of delay caused by the abolition of the National Reform Council. The permitting consideration process is therefore still considered unfinished.[9]

In January 2016 the National Council for Peace and Order used Article 44 of the interim constitution to order an exemption to the city plan law for power plants and other industrial projects, which had been restricted to areas zoned for them on the city plan. The Protect Andaman from Coal Network responded by rallying in front of the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry against the order and urged the ministry to renew the Krabi Environment Protection Zone without any legal gap that would permit the building of a coal-fired plant in Krabi.[10] Order 9/2559 was issued on March 7, 2016, with the intention of speeding up construction of the government’s public utility projects, including power plants. The orders are issued by the prime minister, Gen Prayut, who seized power in May 2014.[11]

In July 2016 a consortium of France's Alstom Power Systems and Japan's Marubeni lost out on the project to Power Construction Corporation of China and a Thai partner. The winning bid of 32 billion baht for the plant was 10% lower than the French-Japanese proposal. If the project goes forward, it would be the first major Thai project carried out by a Chinese construction company, according to Nikkei Asia Review.[12]

In November 2016, almost a dozen activists shaved their heads in protest against the plant outside Government House.[13]

In February 2017 hundreds of people protested in front of the Thai Government House against a decision by the military regime to proceed with the plant. In response, the regime agreed to a fresh environmental assessment of the plant with proper public consultation. It will take 18 months to two years to conduct a new EHIA.[14]

An April 2017 editorial in the Bangkok Post came out against the proposed coal plant, stating that the Krabi people "will clearly never accept any environmental impact assessment." The editorial urges government officials to look at non-carbon power sources beyond both coal and gas: "Energy security from this date forward must include alternative, renewable and sustainable sources."[15]

On February 3, 2018, Energy Minister Siri Jirapongphan said the Ministry planned to study plans for the Krabi and Thepha power station for an additional three years until the end of 2020, after which time policymakers will decide whether the two project sites are appropriate for fossil-fuel power generation.[16] The concession followed a week of protests and a hunger strike, and came before demonstrators were set to march on the junta’s seat of power.[17]

In May 2018, the Energy Ministry walked back the postponement, saying it planned to immediately conduct a feasibility study for the Krabi and Thepha coal plants, which would take roughly five months to complete before being submitted to policymakers. According to the ministry's deputy permanent secretary Nantika Thangsuphanich, "The study will help determine whether the South should have more coal-fired power plants. If the answer is no, then policymakers will draw up a Plan B of alternative resources or power supply systems to generate electricity for the region."[18]

Terminal

The project would include a site for unloading coal shipments near Laem Hin, a scenic fishing village of 30 households. Residents of the village have joined in protesting the project, fearing disruption to their fishing activities.[12]

Alternatives

In March 2016 EGAT said if Krabi's coal-fired power plant cannot go ahead, the government may turn to gas-fired power plants and the country will need to import more LNG.[19] The 1,000 MW coal-fired Panare power station in Pattani province has also been proposed as a potential alternative to Krabi or Thepha power station.[20]

In December 2017, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the Ministry of Energy of Thailand released a report stating that renewables could reach 37% of the country's energy mix by 2036, surpassing the 30% renewable energy target of the Alternative Energy Development Plan (AEDP) 2015.[21]

Project Details

  • Sponsor: Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT)
  • Location: Nua Khlong district, Krabi
  • Coordinates: 8.059167, 98.918889 (approximate)
  • Status: Shelved
  • Gross Capacity: 870 MW[22]
  • Type:
  • Projected in service:
  • Coal Type: Sub-bituminous
  • Coal Source: Indonesia and South Africa
  • Source of financing:

Articles and resources

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Krabi coal plant fight heats up; Senate election nears," Phuket Gazette, March 10, 2014
  2. "Egat says more coal-fired power plants needed," Nov 24, 2014
  3. "Thailand Power Development Plan, 2015-2036," Thailand Ministry of Energy, May 2015
  4. Kritsada Mueanhawong, "Greenpeace goes over the edge to protest Krabi coal plant," Phuket Gazette, March 25, 2013.
  5. "Krabi coal plant Environmental Impact Assessment rejected," Phuket Gazette, March 14, 2015
  6. "Prayut puts Krabi plant on hold," The Nation Multimedia, July 24, 2015
  7. "2 groups bid on Krabi coal plant," Bangkok Post, Aug. 5, 2015
  8. "In Picturesque Thailand, Coal Plant Draws Protests ," Voice of America, April 11, 2014.
  9. "Krabi power plant 'will have little environmental impact'" The Nation, Sep 16, 2015
  10. "Anti-coal groups protest against latest NCPO order," The Nation, January 27, 2016
  11. "Laying down the ‘dictator law’ for money," Bangkok Post, Mar 20, 2016
  12. 12.0 12.1 Hiroshi Kotani, "Pollution fears fuel furor over Thai power plant project," Nikkei Asian Review, 2 November 2016
  13. "Activists protest Krabi power plant," Bangkok Post, 19 November 2016
  14. "KRABI COAL PLANT SENT BACK FOR FRESH REVIEW," Associated Press, February 21, 2017
  15. "Consider the alternatives," Bangkok Post, April 27, 2017
  16. "Coal plants shelved for 3 years," Bangkok Post, Feb 3, 2018
  17. "Govt Halts Coal Power Plant Plan, Protest Called Off," Khaosod English, Feb 20, 2018
  18. "Coal-fired plants back on agenda," Bangkok Post, May 16, 2018
  19. "Electricity Generating eyes LNG business," The Nation, March 9, 2016
  20. "Locals in South ‘lack details on coal plants,’" The Nation, April 11, 2016
  21. Marija Djordjevic, "Thailand’s bigger RE ambitions may lead to economic renaissance – IRENA," PV Magazine, 5 December 2017
  22. "Opponents to boycott new Krabi power plant hearing," The Nation, January 28, 2018

Related SourceWatch articles

External resources