Transforming the Electrical Infrastructure
The Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA) in Loei, a northeastern province in Thailand, has announced plans to move electric transformers underground in the popular Chiang Khan district. This initiative aims to reduce fire risks in the area, which is home to numerous century-old wooden houses.
Komkrit Siriyutthaseanyakorn, head of the local office of the Department of Public Works and Town and Country Planning, has highlighted the benefits of this move. Relocating the transformers will not only improve fire safety but also lead to a more stable electrical supply and aesthetically pleasing landscape, as power cables will no longer be visible.
Boost for Chiang Khan Tourism
Chiang Khan, situated beside the Mekong River, attracts 4-5 million visitors every year, generating over a billion baht in tourism-related revenue. The PEA’s efforts to enhance safety and aesthetics in the district are expected to further boost local tourism and business activity.
Praphan Srinuan, deputy governor of the Council of Engineers Thailand, disclosed that the PEA has already conducted surveys and prepared designs for underground transformers along the Chiang Khan Walking Street. As a result, the Asean Federation of Engineering Organisations and the Engineering Institute of Thailand proposed Chiang Khan as the first smart city with low-carbon underground transformers.
Adopting the Chulalongkorn University Transformer Model
Chulalongkorn University has designed a low-carbon submersible transformer model for this project, which has been praised at the 2023 Thailand Energy Awards and the 2023 Asean Energy Awards. Siriwit Pornpanwatcharadech, deputy director of the transmission system design division at the state utility, emphasized that using this model would minimize fire risks and practically guarantee safety for residents, tourists, and PEA staff.
Success in Siam Square
Sombat Vanichprapa, a consultant for the Chula Smart City project, pointed out the success of a similar initiative in Bangkok’s Siam Square area. The relocation of transformers and power cables underground has improved safety for pedestrians, turning the city center into a favored tourist hotspot.
In summary, the PEA’s plans to move electric transformers underground in Chiang Khan promise to enhance safety, promote tourism, and create a more appealing environment, all while reducing carbon emissions and increasing usable green space.