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GMS Power GridWho gains, who loses?

Chuenchom Sangarasri Greacen

17 July 2005

Piyawan Resort


Implementation of GMS Power Trade Operation Agreement- Stage 1

Leaders from 6 countries met GMS Summit in Kunming, China4-5 July 2005


Implementation of GMS Power Trade Ageement stage I

What is ?

  • Purpose

    To set an implementation framework for bilateral power trade between countries with transmission links in accordance with the draft GMS Power Trade Operation Agreement stage I

  • For Thailand, EGAT is the designated entity responsible for plan implementation

Norconsult June 2002

Asian Development Bank (ADB)

Indicative Master Plan on Power Interconnection in the GMS

  • Benefits :

    • Exchange energy e.g. during different peak periods

    • Reduce shared reserve margin

    • Maximize efficient utilization of resources in the GMS

Reality of GMS Power Grid:expensive, risky investment

  • Costs excluded in analysis:

    • Control center

    • Water usage

    • Regulator & reliability coordination

    • Transitional costs

  • Increased vulnerability: events in Laos/Cambodia determine reliability of Thai Grid

*Cost savings of extended power cooperation scenarios over base case

Source: Comments on Indicative Master Plan on Power Interconnection in GMS Countries by Bretton W. Garrett, P.Eng., Ph.D.





PPA and







Regional Power Trade Operating Agreement in the Greater Mekong Sub Region: GMS RPTOA

Goals for Stage # 1

  • PTOA: Bilateral Power Transactions;

  • Tariffs for cross-border transmission facilities;

  • Regional and Operational transmission planning;

  • Putting in place regional institutions: Regional Regulatory Board, Planning Working Groups, Management Committee

  • Recommended:

    • Agree and apply rules for Long-term PPA

    • Arrangements for facilitating building of cross-border transmission facilities.

Stage 2-4

  • Stage 2: power trade among more than 2 countries

  • Stage 3: All GMS countries are connected by HV transmission links and independent power producers can sell electricity

  • Stage 4: Complete competitive power trade in Regional Power Pool

Analyses of Dr. Brettron Garrett

Transmission expert from BC, Canada

1. The most serious concern is the wisdom of committing to an expensive, long-term electricity trade arrangement without certainty of the economic benefits

ADBs assumptions on benefits of the GMS grid

  • Peak sharing can reduce costs, need for reserve margin

  • Lots of cheap hydropower will be built in Laos, Burma and Yunnan, and can displace electricity generation from gas and coal.

  • Competition among different dam projects in the region will drive cost down so consumers will enjoy low, competitive price

Opportunity for peak reduction

Assumption 1. peak sharing

Assumption 2

  • Hydropower is cheap

  • Hydropower is plentiful

  • Cheap power from dams will displace power generation from gas and coal plants

Assumption 3. GMS grid+competitive trade will drive the price down

Reduce Peak by only 2.5%

Fact 1. peak sharing can reduce peak by only 2.5%

Fact 2.Cheap hydropower is only an assumption, not findings from studies

Fact 3.No competition

  • Stage 4 is difficult/impossible to reach and there is no set timeline for it to happen

  • With no competition, there is opportunity for price gouging as seen in California

Conclusion: Extremely risky investment

  • Total investment200,000 million baht (incld. Building dams)

  • May result in benefits worth 90,000 million baht but highly uncertain

  • What is certain is consumers in the GMS have to pay 48,000 billion Baht

2. Regulatory body

  • Balance interests of investors against consumers

  • RPTOAsuggests against having a highly independent regulatory

  • No public participation

  • No consideration of other greener, cheaper alternatives

3. Extremely difficult and expensive to harmonize grid standards across the region

  • Split-second decisions by operators in one country can affect the whole region

  • The Canadian economy lost 16,000 million Baht in August 2003 when a negligent USA utility caused a massive blackout.

4. Vulnerability of power interconnection to political situation

Who gains, who loses?

  • GMS consumers are sure to foot the bill of 48,000 million baht to build the grid

  • Economic benefits are highly uncertain and unlikely

  • High risks: technical, environmental & social, political

  • Benefits from dam construction go to multinational corporations, investors, contractors

Who gains, who loses?

Win-win trade?


Without GMS Grid, Thailands energy security would be at risk?

ADB:Peak demand in2020

Source: Norconsult, Indicative Master Plan on Power Interconnection in GMS Countries, June 2002

Energy security or business expansion ?

Thailands current demand forecast (Jan04)Annual increases (MW)


Reduces air and water pollution

Produces fertilizer

Produces electricity

Biogas from pig farms

Village-scale microhydro

  • Mae Kam Pong village, Chiang Mai

  • 40 kW

  • Community cooperative

  • Expected gross revenues: 30,000 baht/month

2000MW = ?

  • 780 MW

  • 136 MW

  • 2400 MW

  • 700 MW

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