Private renewable project licences being prepared

Private renewable project licences being prepared

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) is prepared to grant new licences for solar and waste-to-energy power projects to private investors by mid-2019 after receiving approval from the National Energy Policy Council last Thursday.

Narupat Amornkosit, secretary-general of ERC, said it plans to provide licences for 78 megawatts in waste-to-energy power projects and 100MW for solar power.

For the solar power capacity, the new licences will focus on encouraging households to install solar panels and sell the surplus to the state grid, controlled by Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat).

"After we get the green light from policymakers, we will announce the licence-granting procedure in the next 2-4 months," Ms Narupat said.

The waste-to-energy power projects will be granted licences in the first quarter, with power purchase contracts expected to be signed in the fourth quarter this year, she said.

All new waste-to-energy power projects will commence commercial operation dates (CODs) in the next two years.

The solar power projects will grant licences in the middle of the year and begin operating at the end of the year.

"The new projects allow the first group of renewable power investors under the new power development plan [PDP], but policymakers can add more licences if the market changes and renewable energy technology costs can compete with fossil fuel-based power," said Ms Narupat.

The new PDP, expected to run until 2037, calls for renewable power to account for 30% of total power capacity. Solar power projects were chosen as the main renewable resource with a combined capacity of 10,000MW.

The PDP aims to add 100MW of solar power annually from 2019-23, with the remaining 9,500MW dependent on political sentiment.

The waste-to-energy power projects are projected to have a combined capacity of 400MW.

Ms Narupat said the solar panels at households are tentatively set to sell power back to the state grid with a feed-in tariff (FiT) of 1.6-1.8 baht per kilowatt-hour (unit).

The FiT rate is based on short-run marginal costs or wholesale power tariffs, excluding the fuel tariffs at which the Metropolitan Electricity Authority and the Provincial Electricity Authority buy power from Egat.

The FiT for waste-to-energy power projects will be set at 3.66 baht per unit for small power producers that have capacities of 10-99MW, and 5.78 baht per unit for very small power producers with capacity below 10MW.

The FiT rate is set for 20 years after commencing operations.

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