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Mitr Phol Group revises production plan to increase supply of electricity to EGAT to ease the energy shortage crisis in April

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Bangkok--8 Mar--Aziam Burson-Marsteller

Mitr Phol Group welcomes the government’s policy by revising its electricity use plan for its local sugar production to maximize the amount of electricity in the national power system by distributing all biomass electricity generated to the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) grid. The Group believes that locally produced clean energy can ease the power shortage power crisis on 5 April.

Thailand’s gas supply from the Yadana gas field in Myanmar will be halted for pipeline maintenance in 5-14 April when the power demand is at its peak. The shutdown will cut off a daily supply of 1.1 billion cubic feet of gas, representing one-fourth of the natural gas supplied normally. The cut off of gas will lead to a power shortfall of about 4,100 megawatts of electricity. This will reduce the national power reserve to 1,100 megawatts, which is a very low level, and there will be a peak load when 26,300 megawatts of electricity is needed on April 5.

Dr. Witoon Simachokedee, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Industry said, “To minimize the impact on the consumer and industrial sectors, the Ministry has worked 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 minimize the overall impact on the economy and society.”

According to Mr. Krisda Monthienvichienchai, CEO and President of Mitr Phol Group, “Based on the risk assessment, Thailand may face a temporary shortage of power during peak power demand on April 5, 2013. We have prepared measures to support the government’s policy to reduce the amount of power used during the period by minimizing our power usage in some production processes at all of our five sugar plants in Thailand. The amount of power regarded as non-firm power that is left will be about 96 megawatts. Normally, non-firm power is not included as national reserve power. However, if the power plant producers are able to confirm its stability; EGAT can count this power as firm power to help stabilize Thailand’s 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 sugarcane from farmers as the Group will temporarily stop in some production process while the crushing process is still active. This enables the Group to increase the supply to EGAT to 170 megawatts, equivalent to the total amount of power used by some big cities, from the existing 76 megawatts of firm power and 96 megawatts of non-firm power to EGAT on 5th of April.

“However, it is time for all parties including consumers, industry and the government to work closely and seriously to seek sustainable energy reserves. One which should not be overlooked is the use of biomass energy as a replacement of the energy produced by fossil fuels,” Krisda said.

Currently, the growing use of renewable energy accounts for 16.7% of the energy in use globally and 80.6% of the energy used comes from fossil fuels. Only 2.7% of nuclear energy is leveraged. Given this, the UN Secretary General announced the goal to double the use of renewable energy worldwide by 2030.

“In Thailand, the use of petrol as a major fuel for the power production declined to 0.4%, but the dependency on natural gas remains high at 68%, followed by lignite at 12% and coal at 8%, fuel imports of 6% and hydro power of 4%. The use of renewable energy, that is produced locally accounted for only 2%, generating over 1,700 megawatts of electricity. The figures demonstrate the high potential to increase the use of renewable energy including the biomass energy which has the production capacity of 81% of renewable energy, generating more than 1,400 megawatts of electricity,” added Krisda.

The adoption of electricity generated by renewable energy could not be accomplished within a short period. But this can be achieved in certain industries that are flexible in their fuel consumption. The sugar industry is an example. There are 47 sugar plants nationwide, except in the southern region. All facilities produce steam and electricity using bagasse, for their own use and to sell the unused portion to EGAT. Only 4 plants operate steam and high pressure turbine technologies and therefore have more electricity for sale than others. If these plants are well promoted in the areas of production and raw material management to meet enhanced efficiency and quality standards, the national power system will incorporate more biomass electricity as the replacement for power generated by other fuels. This will help improve energy security and prevent long term energy supply issues.

“Sugarcane cultivation should be seriously promoted as an energy crop to increase Thailand’s sugarcane yields to over 150 million tons within the next five years from 90-95 million tons currently. The yields will increase the electricity generation to 19,500 million units or 2,500 megawatts, twice the amount acquired via all dams across the country, or the power generated from 2.5 nuclear power plants. This will help reduce the import of natural gas by more than 86 billion baht and decrease the carbon footprint by 10 million tons, or as much as 4.4 million rai of mangrove forest. Therefore there is an urgent need for all related sectors to have discussions to drive renewable energy development for local use. This will prevent all of us from facing the energy crisis in the future,” concluded Krisda.

For more information, please contact:
Aziam Burson-Marsteller Tel. 02 252 9871

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