Thursday, July 27, 2017

Thai firm signs agreement to start wind power project in southeast

The Department of Electric Power under the Ministry of Electric Power 2 and Thailand’s Gunkul Engineering Public Co signed a memorandum of understanding for the development of a 1000-megawatt (MW) wind power project on November 2.

The signing ceremony was attended by the deputy ministers of the Ministry of Electric Power No 1 and 2, Thai embassy officials, Thailand’s Provincial Electricity Authority officers and employees of Siam Commercial Bank.

The 1000MW project will be built near Mawlamyine in Mon State but will also include wind farms in Kayin State and Tanintharyi Region near Dawei and Bokpyin.

The average wind speed where the farms will be situated in Kayin and Mon states is between 7 and 9 kilometres an hour (km/h), while those in Tanintharyi vary between 6 and 9km/h, said U Thiha Thura Mon, director of Zeya and Associates, which is partnering with Gunkul Engineering.

“The MOU allows us to do a two-year feasibility study and we have started work this month,” he said.

He added that several locations in Rakhine State and Ayeyarwady Region were also promising for wind power.

U Thiha Thura Mon said the first step of the feasibility study was the building of a tower to measure wind speeds, followed by the establishment of a measuring station to analyse the data.

“When we set up a measuring station in places such as Tanintharyi Region, we have to build on top of the hills. Depending on the location, we sometimes set up a wind farm [a collection of wind turbines] and study their activity for the whole year.

“In some instances we have to build roads too, so the cost depends on what infrastructure is in place,” he said.

Each of the five plants is expected to generate about 200MW of electricity and the company hopes to be producing at a commercial level by 2015. However, the full output of 1000MW is not expected to be online until 2018.

U Thiha Thura Mon said wind power is not cheap.

“One 150-metre-high wind turbine cost about US$1 million to install,” he said.

However, a similar project was trialled four years ago and failed, he said, adding that the company hoped to succeed by using more modern technology.

The company’s feasibility study will also include an environmental impact assessment that would it to access development loans and financial advice from Siam Commercial Bank, he said.