By The Nation
The “Energy for All” policy of Energy Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong is starting to take shape after the Energy Policy and Planning Office (EPPO), chaired by Prime Minister Prayat Chan-o-cha, approved the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) mechanism in renewable power investment and price rate for Very Small Power Producers (VSPP) on December 16.
Under the programme, the party proposing the project, either private or public, can hold 60 to 90 per cent of ownership while the community, which must have more than 200 households, holds the other 10-40 per cent (10 per cent preferred stock and up to 40 per cent in additional stock).
The approval was well received by communities and private companies interested in the project. The ministry will accept applications early next year.It will also announce details of financial support for the setup of power plants in remote area.
Community-based power plants will use a Feed-in Tariff (FiT) mechanism in renewable power investment for Very Small Power Producers (VSPP), with 10 MW for non-firm power plant. Next year, the government will start buying 700 MW from private producers and has scheduled the commercial operation dates for two types of projects: Quick win project in 2020, followed by the general project the year after. The investment is estimated at Bt70-84 billion or Bt100-120 million per megawatt.
Pajon Sriboonruang, president of the Thai Biogas Trade Association (TBTA), said:” The association has proposed 33 Quick win projects, with a total capacity of 80 MW driven by energy crops such as Napier grass, involving both completed plants and the more than 50 projects, totalling 100 MW in generating capacity, halted in 2014 after a change in policy by the previous government.
“If the Ministry of Energy allow the resumption of investment in the halted projects and their distribution into the system next year, it will result in increased income for the communities,” said Pajon.
The Quick win community power plant that uses biomass has not been proposed.
A source from the Ministry of Energy revealed that the community-based power plant policy for the glass-root economy will be divided into 3 parts, spanning 2020-2024, for a total of a thousand projects.
In 2020, there will be 20 community electricity business projects not exceeding 350 kilowatts in total, operating in remote community areas or at the end of the transmission line or outside the service area. In 2021, 100 new projects will start operation, followed by 300 in 2022 and another 300 within 2023-2024.