Krabi coal-fired power station project, Thailand

Alternatives to coal are plenty; opponents to the Krabi plant make it clear they don't want more coal facilities but a greener and just economy based on sustainable tourism and clean energy


Description
The town of Krabi is one of Thailand's most famous tourist destinations and also a centre of marine biodiversity in the region, providing livelihoods and revenue for local residents. The Krabi province is home to thousands of people who depend on fishing and tourism. In 2013, the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) announced their plans to build a new up to 870 MW coal-fired power plant in the area, on the same site as an already existing, decommissioned plant, which had been operational for over three decades. From 1995 on, the converted power plant has housed a 340 MW generating unit combining gas and oil. The new plant would be over eight times bigger than the old one and reconvert the plant to go back to burning coal on a much larger scale. During a protest by 500 Krabi villagers on 11 February 2013 against the construction of the plant, they claimed that the original, first version of the coal-fired plant in the area, which was operational from 1964 to 1995, had already left many of them with respiratory problems and cancer. Following the protests Greenpeace activists also took their anger about new coal plant projects - including Krabi - to the streets in March 2013. Greenpeace claims that the proposed coal-fired plant and coal seaport would damage or even destroy Krabi's marine life and wetlands, hurting local tourism as well as the local fishing industry and economy. Also, they say that the project's Environment Health Impact Assessment (EHIA) process has been deeply flawed. Representatives of the local community are said to have been silenced, ignored and marginalized during the consultation process. Also, access to adequate information has not been guaranteed. Testimony from local residents shows their discontent with the project and that they still seem to suffer from the impacts of the old decommissioned plant that was operational for 30 years. During its operation, some species of fish had black spots on their scales, many fish died and the stock decreased, shells were not eatable anymore, mangrove died around the power plant area and there was erosion which made land around the area unusable. Because of their three decade experience with the coal-fired plant and how it had affected them, most of the local residents seem to categorically oppose the project. In April 2014, environmental activists were protesting plans to reopen the coal plant and outbreaks of violence between supporters and opponents of the plant created divisions within the community. Meanwhile, EGAT was still moving forward with the project. In January 2015, protests were still going on and a silent protest was staged by local residents. The group of protesters gathered in front of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and urged the minister to take action to stop the project. The tourism minister Ms Kobkarn said she will study the impact of the plant and consult the project plans with the energy minister. The protest network had also submitted 16 letters of complaint concerning the coal plant to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports over the past three years, but claimed that they had never received any feedback. According to EGAT, construction for the facility would begin in 2015 and the plant would start supplying electricity by 2019. UPDATED 05/04/2017 On 14th of Frebruary "three people (Prasitthichai Noonuan, Akkradet Chakjinda and Rungkhun Kittiyakara) leading protests against the construction of a coal-fired power plant"[1]
Basic Data
Name Krabi coal-fired power station project, Thailand
CountryThailand
Province Krabi Province, Krabi District
SiteKrabi
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Coal extraction and processing
Ports and airport projects
Thermal power plants
Specific CommoditiesLand
Coal
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe Krabi power station project proposed the construction of a 800 -870 MW coal-fired power station in Krabi, Thailand. Aside from the coal plant, a coal seaport would also be built in the Krabi Estuary. At least 2.3 million tonnes of coal would be imported every year to power the plant. Construction for the facility would begin in 2015 and the plant would start supplying electricity by 2019.
Project Area (in hectares)500
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Populationaround 2,000
Start Date01/02/2013
Company Names or State EnterprisesElectricity Generating Authority of Thailand International Co. Ltd (EGAT) from Thailand
Relevant government actorsMinistry of Energy of Thailand

Ministry of Tourism and Sports of Thailand
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersGreenpeace Thailand: http://www.greenpeace.or.th

Krabi Fisherfolks Network

Public Health Volunteer of Krabi

Thailand Coal Network
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingInternational ejos
Local ejos
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Recreational users
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation
Health ImpactsVisible: Other Health impacts
Potential: Other environmental related diseases
Otherrespiratory problems and cancer
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Outcome
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseRepression
Under negotiation
Application of existing regulations
Development of AlternativesGreenpeace Thailand has proposed its projects for Krabi in a 2014 report. As an alternative to the coal-fired power plant, they say Krabi can be a 100% renewable energy province and propose a decentralized hybrid renewable energy system. Economically, Greenpeace has highlighted the large income from tourism (also eco-tourism) in Krabi that could suffer from the plant.
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.For now it seems like the plant will be constructed despite opposition from local residents. The tourism minister has recently said she will consult with the energy minister, but the outcome for the project remains still unclear.
Sources and Materials
Legislations

National Health Act, Thailand, B.E. 2550 (A.D. 2007)
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References

Greenpeace (2014), Krabi at the Crossroads, Dirty Coal VS. Clean Renewable Energy, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Report, published in 2014,
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Links

Krabi Power Plant, Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT)
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Greenpeace goes over the edge to protest Krabi coal plant, by Kritsada Mueanhawong, Phuket Gazette, 25 March 2013
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Thailand's Power Demand Growth and the Potential of Coal Import, by Thanawat Nakawiro, EGAT, PowerPoint presentation, 2014,
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Fights at hearings over coal plans, by Pongphon Sarnsamak, The Nation, 10 March 2014
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In Picturesque Thailand, Coal Plant Draws Protests, by Steve Sandford, Voice of America, 11 April 2014
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Kobkarn urged to halt Krabi coal plant, by Paritta Wangkiat, The Bangkok Post, 20 January 2015
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[1] Anti-coal power plant protest leaders detained by Thailand army
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Media Links

VIDEO: In Picturesque Thailand, Coal Plant Draws Protests, by Steve Sandford, Voice of America, 11 April 2014,
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Other Documents

March against the plant Source: Greenpeace, at http://www.bangkokpost.com/print/439810/
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Meta Information
Last update06/04/2017
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