CHIANGRAI TIMES – Criticism of the controversial Xayaburi hydro dam project in northern Laos is mounting in Thailand – the country set to enjoy most of the electricity if the project is completed.
Representatives from 130 Thai civil-society organizations yesterday published a statement backing a report that outlines an alternative power plan to the 1,260-megawatt dam project on the Mekong River.
The Power Development Plan 2012, produced by Thai energy experts Chuenchom Sangasri Greacen and Dr Chris Greacen, was presented to the Thai government last week.
According to a statement by International Rivers, the report states that power from the Xayaburi dam is not needed to meet Thailand’s energy needs and calls for investment in renewable energy and other alternatives, which could reduce electricity bills by “12 per cent” by 2030.
“Thailand’s energy planning process is in a state of crisis. Persistent over-forecasting of energy demand has led to over-investment and onerous economic burdens on consumers,” Ms Greacen is quoted in the International Rivers statement. \
“This new power plan identifies barriers and offers realistic energy solutions, which will bring social, economic and environmental benefits to Thailand.”
Thai development firm Ch.Karnchang announced on April 17 it had begun construction work on the dam on March 15.
This announcement came despite Mekong River Commission member states Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam agreeing in December that a study of the dam’s potential harm to the Mekong River and its communities must be carried out first.- Shane Worrell