WETA backs community power scheme

WETA backs community power scheme

The Waste-to-Energy Trade Association (WETA) has given its full support to the government's Energy for All scheme involving community-owned power, as the programme will increase power projects fuelled by agricultural waste.

The WETA is part of the renewable energy club under the Federation of Thai Industries.

Pichai Tinsuntisuk, the WETA's honorary adviser, said the group has proposed a business model for the scheme to the Energy Ministry for consideration.

The Energy for All scheme was announced in September. The plan is to enable private companies to form joint ventures with local communities to operate renewable power projects in remote areas.

"The private companies should hold a majority stake of up to 70% and the remaining 30% will be owned by local communities because private companies have plenty of budget and know-how," Mr Pichai said.

The government should provide transmission lines in remote areas, determine a competitive power tariff and expedite investment in the scheme, he said. In addition, the agricultural waste to be fed to the power generation system should come from natural resources or plantation areas to be biogas and biomass power.

Mr Pichai said the technology adopted for the community-owned power projects should be of a hybrid type, potentially handling many varieties of waste.

In his view, local communities should take the form of juristic persons such as cooperatives, community enterprises and associations.

"Local communities will have revenue from selling feedstock and waste and gain benefits such as dividend payments from power projects," Mr Pichai said. "But the state enterprises should not participate in the scheme, because it would increase the state's financial burden."

Power tariffs should be in the range of 4.50-5.50 baht per kilowatt-hour, he said.

"The WETA believes that the proposed business model can decentralise the country's power sector, while local communities can generate the revenue by themselves from the accessibility of power generation," Mr Pichai said.

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