The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) is planning to call a new auction for waste-to-energy (WTE) projects, with a combined capacity of 444 megawatts, in the next couple of years, as officials continue to promote the use of garbage to fuel new power plants.
The latest survey by the Department of Local Administration found 22 locations across Thailand are suitable for WTE projects.
ERC deputy secretary-general Werasak Werathamno said officials from the Energy and Interior ministries are working on a time frame for new WTE development, including dates for granting licences to WTE operators.
The 444MW power generation capacity is divided into 400MW derived from community waste and 44MW from industrial waste.
The government previously organised an auction of 11 WTE projects with a combined capacity of 83MW. Some of them are already in operation.
Thana Yantrakowit, former deputy chief of the Department of Local Administration, said the 22 locations have potential to generate up to 100MW.
Thailand has a total of 2,700 landfills in the country, but only 22 sites are currently deemed suitable because of their high volume of daily waste, which promises an adequate return on investment.
Mr Thana suggested local officials in small communities with less volume of garbage combine waste from many communities and supply it to existing WTE power plants instead of building new ones.
WTE projects are part of the state effort to increase the proportion of clean energy in the country. Others include 150MW Energy for All renewable power scheme, which promotes joint investment between companies and communities, as well as solar and wind power development.
“Policymakers are considering types of fuel to determine which one should receive the first priority under the renewable energy plans,” said Mr Werasak.
All of them will be carried out under the very small power producer scheme.
Dozens of energy firms are expected to participate in this scheme because new large-scale power plant development projects will hardly be seen in the next five years when gas-fuelled plants, being developed by the state and private sector, will begin operation, adding nearly 10,000MW to the country’s total power supply.