A SECOND wind turbine generator will be built alongside the Big Buddha statue in the hills above Chalong.
The Chief of Phuket’s provincial energy office, Jirasak Thammavate, said construction of the wind turbine was set to begin in April next year.
He said Thailand’s Energy Minister, Dr Wannarat Channnukul, was keen for Phuket to have self-sufficient, environmentally friendly power sources.
In the past, the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand has encountered problems when it tried to build turbines in ‘scenic’ areas on Phuket.
Plans to build three wind turbines on Laem Promthep cape overlooking Nai Harn and Ya Nui beaches in 2006 were thwarted by new property regulations.
A ruling by the Environmental Impact Assessment agency banned the building of structures more than eight meters high on the island.
The single 24-metre wind turbine which is already on the cape, produces 1700 KW of power every hour.
Mr Jirasak said the new wind turbine would be more than 30 metres high and would produce even more electricity than the present wind turbine.
“It will be roughly 500 metres above sea level, compared to the one at Nai Harn which is only 50 metres above sea level, which means we can capitalise on the higher wind power,” he said.
He said the newly-laid roads up to the Big Buddha statue would also make construction relatively easy.
A budget has not yet been announced for the project, but energy office representatives said the cost would be competitive against European prices for a project of this scale.
Scientists from the Rajamangala Institute of Technology in Pathumtani province and a team of engineers from India have joined forces to design the new turbine.
The announcement comes in the wake of an island-wide blackout in December which was caused by a faulty transformer at the Chiewlarn dam in Surat Thani.
It is hoped the new wind power turbine will reduce the island’s dependency on the Surat Thani power station.