Thailand’s wind energy industry picks up speed
Petchabun province, known as the “Switzerland of Thailand” for its lush, mountainous terrain and mild temperatures, is home to Thailand’s newest operating wind farm.
Built 1,050 meters above sea level in Petchabun’s Khao Kor district, the 60 MW Khao Kor Wind Farm brings wind power to the northern province for the first time.
Wind Power Comes to Petchabun – This video records the construction of the wind farm, and the major logistics effort required to transport the 120-meter wind turbine blades, and other equipment, from Bangkok’s gridlocked streets to the top of Petchabun’s hills, along many steep and windy roads.
Owned by Khao Kor Wind Power Co., Ltd, the new wind farm produces a host of benefits to the region said Mr. Chatchaval Jiaravanon, Chairman of Khao Kor Wind Power Co., Ltd.
“Our Khao Kor facility, which began operations last August, generates enough equivalent energy to power approximately 36,000 local households per year.
“In addition, it adds diversity, and new opportunities to Petchabun economy which has long relied on traditional sectors such as agriculture, horticulture and tourism. In terms of job creation, more than 400 people were employed during the construction of the facility. And today, the farm is managed by a team of 25 employees.”
The wind farm is powered by 24 2.5-120 General Electric wind turbines. The 24 wind turbines each utilize a 120-meter rotor diameter to provide 2.5 MW of power per unit. With its hub sitting atop a tubular steel tower 110 meters off the ground, the 2.5-120 specializes in increasing power yields for low-to-medium wind speed regions like Khao Kor.
The Khao Kor wind farm brings new energy, and economic diversity to Petchabun province which is 340 kilometers north of Bangkok.
GE Thailand President and CEO, Kovit Kantapasara described the Khao Kor wind farm as a milestone project.
“Khao Kor is our first wind facility in Thailand, and we look forward to supporting many more projects like this in the future. Given our natural resources, and scale, the renewable power opportunity is major and important, because the government has firm plans to re-balance the energy mix in the future, with more clean power sources a priority.”
According to the Thailand Energy Policy and Planning Office’s projections, renewable energy will make up 15-20% of the country’s energy mix by 2036. In terms of anticipated demand, the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand predicts demand for energy will double in the next 20 years (from 37,612 MW in 2014 to 70,335 MW in 2036).
Rebalancing the mix – figures from MOE’s Thailand Power Development Plan