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Thai EGAT ups forecast for new capacity needs to 2,146 MW

October 8, 2003

Thailand will need additional power generation capacity of 2,146
megawatts by 2011 due to higher-than-expected growth in power demand, a
senior electricity official said Wednesday.

BANGKOK (Dow Jones)–“Thailand’s power demand growth outpaced our estimation due to strong economic growth,” EGAT Governor Sitthiporn Ratanopas told reporters.

EGAT had previously forecast the need for an extra 700 MW of capacity by 2011, Sitthiporn said.

The new estimate doesn’t include the possibility that EGAT might have to build a new plant to replace the 920 MW of power expected from the Nam Theun 2 hydropower project in Laos, whose future is now indoubt.

The country’s power demand in 2011 is expected to rise to 31,467 MW, from 18,121 MW this year.

EGAT is reviewing its 15-year power development plan, which will indicate new power sources to meet the increasing demand, he said.

A draft revision of the power development plan is expected to be finalized by end-October, he added.

EGAT is likely to build new power plants itself to serve rising demand in the future unless private companies propose lower electricity charges, Sitthiporn said.

The investment cost of new power plants is estimated around US$500,000 per megawatt, he added.

Thailand may also need to find a new power supply of around 920 MW to replace the Nam Theun 2 hydropower project in Laos because the developer of the project hasn’t been able to inform EGAT when it can begin to supply power, said Sitthiporn. EGAT is to be the mainbuyer.

The status of the US$1.2 billion Nam Theun 2 project has been in doubt since Electricite de France’s (EDF.YY) unit EDF International, the largest shareholder in the consortium formed to develop the plant, announced in July that it would withdraw from the project due to a shift in the company’s global strategy.

However, EdF recently said it will recommit to the US$1.2 billion hydropower project. Chairman Francois Roussely saidthe French government had reconsidered its position and could give EdF a green light in the coming days to participate in the project.

However, EGAT still hasn’t received confirmation.

The developer of the project still has time before EGAT finalizes the draft power development plan to repropose the power supply, Sitthiporn said.

“EGAT has excluded power produced from the planned project from its power development plan. However, EGAT would reconsider it if the developer makes the new proposal before the conclusion of the power development plan,” he said.

EGAT previously planned to buy at least 920 MW from the 1,070-MW Nam Theun 2 project.

EDF International holds a 35% stake in the project.

According to Sitthiporn, Export-Import Bank of China and Chinese hydropower construction companies have shown interest in joining the project and providing the funding.

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