TPIPP awaits new laws for waste-to-power progress

TPIPP awaits new laws for waste-to-power progress

A TPI Polene Power plant in Saraburi province. The company plans further joint investment in biomass power plants with provincial administrations.
A TPI Polene Power plant in Saraburi province. The company plans further joint investment in biomass power plants with provincial administrations.

TPI Polene Power Plc (TPIPP), the SET-listed power arm of Thailand's third-largest cement maker, will invest in several waste-to-power projects nationwide, pending a revision of regulations.

TPIPP vice-president Woravit Lerdbussarakam said the new Waste Management Act has been revised and is under review by the National Legislative Assembly.

The law is expected to create appropriate waste management to match waste-to-power technology as energy policymakers are revising the rules to allow private firms to invest in such projects.

"At this stage, we have prepared our technology and investment to be ready to jump in if the government kicks off the project," Mr Woravit said.

Energy policymakers have encouraged private firms to invest in waste-to-power projects since 2014, but the Thai habit of not separating waste before dumping prevented effective use of the imported refuse-derived fuel (RDF) technology, impeding the plan's success.

Policymakers are working with the Interior Ministry's related waste management departments to rejig waste management regulations to match the waste-to-power process, and make the project worth commercial investment, he said.

He added the new waste management act, which is expected to be implemented soon, will allow local administrations to invest with private firms under public-private partnerships (PPPs).

The project was expected to help local administrations dispose of massive volumes of waste in communities and allow private firms to use waste as a raw material to generate power, he added.

Thailand is estimated to produce an average of 70,000 tonnes of waste per day, which would be converted to a maximum of 2,000 megawatts of power.

This implies substantial benefits to local administrations, allowing them to join the projects, particularly those with dense populations, such as the Bangkok Metropolitan Administrative and the provinces of Nonthaburi, Phuket and Songkhla, Mr Woravit said.

TPIPP has been developing waste-to-energy projects using RDF for more than 10 years and operates RDF projects, waste heat power and coal-fired power projects with a combined power generating capacity of 150MW.

With the prospect of new investment of waste-to-power projects, Mr Woravit said TPIPP's power generating capacity was expected to rise to 440MW by the end of this year.

In 2017, TPIPP allocated areas at its existing power plant in Kaeng Khoi in Saraburi province to build a new RDF project, for which the company is ready to join the bidding for the licence later this year.

The Energy Regulatory Commission is expected to open licences bidding for a total capacity of 300MW within the second half of this year. The licences to be granted to private firms will be for biomass projects that produce power mostly from agricultural waste such as sugar cane.

The licences will be in under the PPAs, under which operators need to supply power as required by the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand to ensure the state enterprise is supplied with the exact amount of energy specified in the contract.

This year, TPIPP will spend 6.8 billion baht this year and 1.3 billion next year to develop ongoing projects.

The company is operating four power plants with a combined capacity of 150MW, comprising two RDF power plants and two waste heat power plants.

In the first quarter of this year, the TPIPP had total power sales of 209 million kilowatt-hours, up from 197 million in the previous quarter.

TPIPP shares closed yesterday on the Stock Exchange of Thailand at 7.50 baht, up 15 satang, in trade worth 709 million baht.

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