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‘Waste to Energy’ needs impact assessment demands thai communities

Photo: Luke Duggleby/HaRDstories
Photo: Community members from Na Bon take part in an earlier protest outside SCB Bank Headquarters on July 7 2021. Photo: Luke Duggleby/HaRDstories

Local community members and NGO’s who are against the construction of the Nabon power plant protested in front of the Ministry of Energy in Bangkok on 18 July, 2022. Concerned that the two power plants will be built next to agricultural land and villages, they demand the authorities to carry out a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) before proceeding with the construction.

Nabon power plant is a biomass-waste to energy hybrid plant capable of generating up to 50 megawatts of power. The project is planned to be built in Nabon district, Nakhon Sri Thammarat in the south of Thailand. Over the past year, the local communities have been continuously resisting until in December 2021 the Prime Minister ordered the relevant authorities to carry out a SEA.

Until now, the impact assessment has not been done. “The Ministry of Energy must carry out the Strategic Environmental Assessment. It’s our only demand we have been asking.” said Prasitichai Nunuan, a southern NGO.

The network will move to the Crown Property Bureau Headquarters claiming that the Siam Commercial bank (SCB) is the main financial supporter of the project.

Thailand has been pushing waste to energy power plants in recent years claiming them to be the alternative clean-energy production. In 2015, a new law was passed saying that any Waste-Energy plants producing under 10 MW of power are exempt from undertaking an Environmental Impact Assessment.

Concerned with the environmental and social impacts, communities across Thailand have filed lawsuits against the Ministry of Natural Resources for making the exemption. The Administrative Court is scheduled to give a final verdict on 20th July.