11 July 2024

Protesters against the biomass power plant in Na Bon district of the southern province of Nakhon Si Thammarat have been rallying in front of the Ministry of Energy in Bangkok since this morning (Monday), to demand that the government fulfil its pledge to set up a committee to undertake a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) study of the waste-to-energy project.

Led by Prasitchai Nunuan, the protesters, collectively known as the “Save Nabon Group”, claimed that they have been waiting for half a year for the government to fulfil its promisein setting up the SEA committee to study the project and to hold public hearings to allow local people to air their views.

During the rally, the protesters displayed pictures of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Pol Gen Wirachai Songmetta, a major shareholder in Absolute Clean Energy Public Company (ACE), which funds the building and operations of the bio-mass power plants.

Prasitchai said the protesters will continue their protest until their demand is met.

The company has claimed that it will use wood chips, palmleaves and branches and tree bark as fuel for clean energy generation. The protesters, however, claim that the company has failed to mention household waste, which will be a main source of fuel in the power generation process.

In March last year, ACE signed a contract with the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand to supply 21.5 MW of electricity from its Nabon 1 power plant and 21.5 MW from the Nabon 2 plant over 20 years.

Of late, however, there have been increasing doubts about the waste-to-energy idea and concerns are growing that the harmful effects may actually outweigh the benefits.