Hopes boosted on avoiding blackouts as Egat strives to raise power reserve
The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) is hopeful that it can boost the electricity reserve to 1,500 megawatts, which would be enough to ensure there are no power blackouts between April 5 and 14 when Myanmar suspends supplies of natural gas from the Yadana field.
Meanwhile, Mitr Phol Group has welcomed the government's policy for avoiding power cuts by revising planned electricity use for its local sugar production to maximise the amount of electricity in the national system by distributing all biomass electricity generated to the Egat grid.
The group believes locally produced clean energy can ease the potential power crisis on April 5.
Impact Exhibition Management, the country's biggest MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions) venue, is also supporting the government's policy by laying down energy measures in preparation for the April gas-supply shutdown.
It has allocated Bt10 million for energy-saving technology and is confident that the power shortage will not affect its operations and events scheduled to take place from April 4-12.
Thailand's gas supply from the Yadana field will be halted for pipeline maintenance from April 5-14, a period when power demand is at its peak.
The shutdown will cut off the daily supply of 1.1 billion cubic feet of gas, representing one-fourth of the natural gas supplied normally and leading to a power shortfall of about 4,100MW.
This will reduce the national power reserve to 1,100MW, which is a very low level, especially given that there will be a peak load when 26,300MW of electricity is needed on April 5.
Witoon Simachokedee, permanent secretary at the Industry Ministry, said that to minimise the impact on the consumer and industrial sectors, the ministry had been working with the industrial sector to prepare an emergency response plan.
This has received a positive response from many companies, which have revised their production plans and launched initiatives to reduce electricity use during the peak period to minimise the overall impact on the economy and society, he said.
Krisda Monthienvichienchai, chief executive officer and president of Mitr Phol Group, said the company had prepared measures to reduce the amount of power used during the period by minimising power usage in some production processes at all five of its sugar plants in Thailand.
The amount of power regarded as "non-firm" power that is left will be about 96MW, he said. Normally, non-firm power is not included as national reserve power.
However, if the power producers are able to confirm its stability, Egat can count it as firm power to help stabilise the power system on April 5.
The plan to reduce the amount of power used in Mitr Phol Group's sugar-production line will not affect its production system, inventory and the procedures to buy sugar cane from farmers, as the group will temporarily stop some production processes while the crushing process remains active, he added.
This enables the group to increase the supply to Egat to 170MW, equivalent to the total amount of power used by some big cities.
Paul Kanjanapas, managing director of Impact Exhibition Management, said the company had responded positively to the government's request for businesses to introduce additional conservation measures.
Impact is already Energy Management System (ISO 50001)-certified, a status that the venue has maintained since 2011, he said. However, the company is monitoring all energy consumption around its exhibition halls, he said, adding that data showed that electricity accounts for 90 per cent of energy use while the remaining 10 per cent is heat energy.
Of the venue's electricity consumption, about 56 per cent is used by air-conditioning and chiller units, 16 per cent by general lighting, 8 per cent by lighting in exhibition booths, 6 per cent by kitchens and 4 per cent by outlets.
Paul said that last year, Impact managed to save almost Bt21 million in energy expenses, exceeding the Bt13-million initial target.