Airport 'under no threat' of brownout
Back-up power system at Suvarnabhumi stands ready
Air-traffic control at Suvarnabhumi Airport will not be crippled if a brownout strikes as feared next month, thanks to Aeronautical Radio of Thailand's efficient back-up power system.
Deputy Transport Minister Prin Suvanadat said yesterday during his visit to the air-traffic-control tower at Suvarnabhumi that the aviation gateway was well prepared to handle any possible cut-off of electricity in April. If the electricity supply drops to 375 volts, the airport's reserve generators will kick in immediately.
All airlines and passengers should rest assured that air-traffic control at Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang and provincial airports can provide service with safety during any outage, he said. The airports conduct emergency drills twice a month. A major drill is scheduled for April 3.
The Metropolitan Electricity Authority has confirmed that it will be able to maintain power at 375 volts as usual, he added.
Myanmar will suspend its supply of natural gas to Thailand during platform maintenance from April 5-15, raising concerns of a shortage of electricity. Most of the Kingdom's power plants are fuelled by natural gas.
Energy Minister Pongsak Ruktapongpisal said on Wednesday that Thailand had high potential to be a regional energy-trading centre, thanks to its geographical advantages in Asean. He made the remark at a seminar on Thailand's strategy for power-grid development hosted by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the IEEE Power and Energy Society.
Thailand and China are both vying to be the electricity-trading hub in the region but Thailand could leverage its proximity with neighbours to expand links from the electricity grid with them. The Cabinet two weeks ago approved the country's vision to position itself as the hub. The country also plans to invest in diverse power plants, from coal-fired to hydro.
But state agencies also have to study the obstacles to promoting rooftop solar panels on houses and factories, Pongsak said.
The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand has examined the regulations for establishing nuclear power plants at an international standard, but such plants will not be seen soon, as the country's geographical environment is not conducive, he said.
It is imperative to promote good understanding with communities on the need to set up coal-burning and hydropower plants, the minister said. Natural-gas deposits in the Gulf of Thailand will run out in nine years. Gas accounts for 70 per cent of total energy sources used in generating electricity in Thailand.
If the country turns to relying more on other fuels, this will jack up the fuel tariff (FT) rate. Thailand has to seek alternative energy sources to ensure national power security, he said.
Prin also said that two months ago, state aviation agencies piloted the coordination of flight-management information exchange with Singapore. The collaboration will be expanded to Hong Kong soon as part Thailand's move to become the aviation hub of the upcoming Asean Economic Community.