EA joint venture aims to propel renewables

EA joint venture aims to propel renewables

New company will manufacture batteries

FTI chairman Chen Namchaisiri (left) and governor of Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand Verapong Chaiperm (second from left) at an MoU signing ceremony for setting up the new S-curve industrial estate. APICHART JINAKUL
FTI chairman Chen Namchaisiri (left) and governor of Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand Verapong Chaiperm (second from left) at an MoU signing ceremony for setting up the new S-curve industrial estate. APICHART JINAKUL

SET-listed Energy Absolute Plc (EA) will join a Taiwan-based subsidiary and a Chinese company to develop a plant to produce batteries for renewable power systems and electric vehicles.

The joint venture is expected to boost the renewable energy sector and support the development of electric vehicles (EVs) in Thailand.

EA chief executive Somphote Ahunai said its two foreign partners are Chinese company Shenzen Growatt New Energy Technology and Taiwanese subsidiary of Amita Technologies.

EA holds a 35% stake in Amita Technologies and a 40% stake in Shenzen Growatt New Energy Technology, he said.

"The three companies have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to set up the joint venture. The proportion of shares each company will hold has yet to be finalised," said Mr Somphote.

The joint venture company falls under a five-year investment plan, for 2017-2021. The first phase of investment is due to start this year and the first lot of batteries will be available on the market in 2018.

He said the total investment budget could be up to 100 billion baht.

He added the plant will be in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) as the company expects to be granted special investment privileges by the Board of Investment (BoI) upon making the investment.

"The location of the plant will be finalised soon. Firstly, we will need around 2,000 rai of land to be built as a plant," he said.

The EEC was designed by the government to be a flagship policy for driving growth.

It spans a combined 30,000 rai in the provinces of Chon Buri, Rayong and Chachoengsao to accommodate investment in 10 targeted industries: next-generation cars; smart electronics; affluent medical and wellness tourism; agriculture and biotechnology; food; robotics for industry; logistics and aviation; biofuels and biochemicals; digital; and medical services.

Mr Somphote said this investment, which will focus on producing power storage systems for renewable power generating systems, will enhance the storage and transmission capabilities of Thai renewable power-generating companies and make renewable power supply reliable and consistent.

At the first stage, he said around 80% of the power storage products will be for export, with the rest for the domestic market, where demand remains weak.

"In the future, when power storage improves, I think more Thai people would switch to renewable power and that would help boost the sector eventually," Mr Somphote said.

Chen Namchaisiri, the chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) said the joint venture is a new investment that is part of the rising trend of S-curve industries that the government is promoting for Thailand 4.0.

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