Dan Warnick

Thailand Steps Away From Coal

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In a move that should make @ronwagn happy, Thailand, my host country, has made a move to switch future power plants to natural gas.  They are also pushing for more solar as well.  Is this a good move?  Is it enough?  Should they be planning more backup coal power or do they have enough?  Other thoughts?

Thailand steps away from coal


Natural gas gets a bigger role in the draft 2018 Power Development Plan, but it remains to be seen which fuel is better for producing electricity.

According to the draft PDP, waiting next for Cabinet approval, EGAT would instead focus more on power plants that burn natural gas, with Surat Thani named as the site for construction of two such facilities. Each of these would generate 700 megawatts of electricity into the national grid system, the first in 2027 and the second by 2029. Natural gas is seen as a more environmentally friendly fuel compared to coal, even though EGAT has often asserted that today’s technology for burning coal has improved to the point where coal-fired plants produce less pollution and those using natural gas.

The gas-fired plants proposed for Surat Thani would effectively be substitutes for the Krabi and Tepa projects in ensuring power security in southern Thailand.

In addition, the PDP calls for the government to invite the private sector to invest in a 1,000-megawatt “independent power producer” (IPP) project that would start generating electricity in 2034. The National Energy Policy Committee held a public hearing on the 2018 PDP in Surat Thani on December 6, where it was noted that the IPP project could use coal as fuel, but the final decision would be subject to further studies on environmental impacts. Another IPP scheme, rated for 700 megawatts, is planned for 2035, but this would use natural gas as fuel.

Edited by Dan Warnick
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I will have to do more research on the clean coal technologies. The CO2 pumping into the earth seem like a major cost and waste. The air pollutants might be controlled adequately but I have no data on that. The other main problem seems to be the coal ash. If it could be used safely that might alleviate some risk. 

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