Energy minister: No construction of mega power plant in the South in five years 

Energy Minister Siri Jirapongphan assured no construction of large-scale power plant project in the South for five years from now as the government already has a plan to supply electricity to the region.

Speaking at a “Meet the Press” forum this week, Mr Siri confirmed that there was no need to rush on the construction of power plant projects, especially coal-fired power plant, in the Southern region within the next five years.

His remark came as the ministry announced the suspension of two controversial coal-fired power plants in Songkhla and Krabi due to strong protest from local residents and environmentalists.

Regarding the rising demand on electricity in the southern provinces, Mr Siri said the ministry had assigned the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) to develop transmission lines from the Central region to Chumphon and Surat Thani provinces which could deliver about 500 kilowatts per hour to the South.

The Egat also has a plan to build a 300-megawatt biofuel power plant to generate electricity supply for the region.

Mr Siri also revealed that the bidding conditions for the petroleum concessions of the Erawan-Bongkot fields had been postponed to April from March.

The postponement would not have impact on the exploration and production of petroleum, he said, adding the government is expected to sign concession agreement with winner in February next year.

He said one condition in the bidding requires the bidder to have potential to produce at least 1,500 million cubic feet of natural gas  per day, and that the buying rate must not be higher than the current price of 8 US dollars for a million BTU of gas.