Community power plan clears panel
The National Energy Policy Council (NEPC) has approved community-owned power projects under the Energy for All scheme, enabling private companies to form joint ventures with local communities to operate renewable power projects in remote areas.
The council, chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, gave the nod on Wednesday in order to enhance the management efficiency of local power projects.
Private companies can invest in the Energy for All scheme, and two state power enterprises -- the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) and the Provincial Electricity Authority -- are also allowed to invest in community-owned power projects, said Energy Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong.
"The government aims to strengthen local communities that have the potential to establish their own power plants," he said. "They can reduce power costs in the long run, consume the electricity output and increase value for other businesses such as storage for farm and processed crop products."
Mr Sontirat said Egat will purchase surplus electricity from the power projects, while communities can generate income by selling raw materials to be used as fuel in the plants.
The government aims to boost remote communities and impoverished areas with the power projects, which are expected to commence operation in 2022.
Separately, the council also approved a plan to promote biodiesel production in order to stabilise the country's stock of crude palm oil.
"The government will implement biodiesel B10 as the primary diesel in early 2020, replacing the current biodiesel B7," Mr Sontirat said. "B7 and B20 will be alternative diesels."
The government will introduce B10 in October with a price two baht per litre lower than for B7. B20 will be three baht per litre lower than B7, down from five baht previously.