Thailand's new coal plants to balance energy risk

The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand has earmarked 30 billion baht for investment in 2010. According to its newly-appointed governor, Sutat Patmasiriwat, four new coal-fired power plants, each with a capacity of 700 megawatts, will start operations gradually from 2016 to 2017. Two nuclear power plant are also due to proceed.

"We have told all energy policy makers that Thailand has been depending too heavily on gas, at 70% of power, which can only put us at high risk of blackouts," he told the Bangkok Post.

Somboon Arayaskul, EGAT's deputy governor on development, said the agency has held talks with organisations such as Banpu Plc, Siam Cement Group and local universities to establish an institute to help educate the public about modern clean-coal technology.

"Many [people] reject coal as an option despite the fact that new technology could cut sulphur emissions by more than 90% and that cutting-edge technology of carbon capture storage could lower costs and reduce CO2 emissions to zero within a few years' time," he said.