EARTH Thailand

Halted waste-to-energy operator considers lawsuit

Bangkok Post 16 August 2017

TAK - The operator of a waste-to-energy plant is threatening to sue the tambon Mae Ku municipal office in Mae Sot district for suspending its operation last month, saying it did not pollute the environment as alleged.

Naruecha Siriwat, managing director of Genius Energy Co, said on Wednesday the municipal office ordered it to halt power generation on July 26. This had already cost the company nearly 1 million baht in lost sales of electricity to the Provincial Electricity Authority.

The company had also lost an opportunity to expand, because a potential partner had subsequently withdrawn a planned 30 million baht investment in the power plant, she said.

The Mae Ku municipal office ordered the plant to halt power generation, improve its garbage disposal methods and develop better relations with local residents.

Mrs Naruecha said the power plant was a closed system that was free of pollution. Suspending its operation affected not only the company but also the disposal of garbage from tambon Mae Ku itself.

About 100 local residents earlier demanded the municipal office terminate its 25-year contract with Genius Energy, complaining the plant had released polluted water, emitted an unpleasant smell and failed to dispose of garbage for four years.

Local authorities organised a meeting with residents on Aug 10, but representatives of the company present were not given a chance to explain.

The 100 million baht power plant started operating in January 2016 after about five years of project preparation and construction. The plant is designed to dispose of up to 30 tonnes of garbage a day and generate 350 kilowatts of electricity.