Government calls bids for solar power projects
To the support the national goal of sourcing more energy from renewables, Thailand’s Energy Regulatory Commission issued an invitation last week for firms to bid on solar farm power projects and expects the call to generate nearly $1 billion in solar power investments over the next 12 months.
Thailand is seeking to seriously increase the amount of electricity it sources from renewables. The National Energy Policy Committee (NEPC) last week approved the Alternative Energy Development Plan 2015. The plan sets a target to have a total of 19,000MW of installed capacity from renewable power sources by 2036, of which 6,000MW will be from solar power stations.
Thailand is already the leader in Southeast Asia in power generated by solar and wind farms. Although the total power generated from these sources is still relatively small compared to some developed nations, the government is determined to encourage growth in the renewables sector in order to increase Thailand’s energy security.
The NEPC has agreed to purchase a total of 800MW from solar farms developed by state agencies and agricultural cooperatives. The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has decided, however, to divide the bidding to build solar farms into two phases, with the first one issued last week for a total purchase of 600MW.
“Because it requires at least [$1.6 million] to install 1 megawatt capacity in a solar farm, the investments could be between [$800 million] and [$1.1 billion],” ERC Commissioner Viraphol Jirapraditkul said.
ERC Commissioner Kraisi Karnasutr said Thailand was making good progress on solar energy with 1,602MW of solar farms and rooftop solar-panel systems already in operation. The government has made a commitment to purchase a total of 3,800MW of power from these solar systems so far.
Next week, the ERC will also invite bids for the purchase of 46MW from renewable-power projects using biogas or biomass. These projects are in the three southern border provinces of Pattani, Narathiwat and Yala and in four districts of Songkhla.
The ERC views Biogas and biomass energy projects as more appropriate for the South because the region has plentiful resources for those types of alternative power plants. Palm and rubber plantations are ubiquitous in the region, and their waste is a good source of material for biogas and biomass.
Thailand Focus September 28, 2015
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