The competition to secure a licence to develop power plants under the community-owned power plant scheme, or Energy for All, is heating up with Khonburi Sugar Plc (KBS), Thailand's top sugar miller by capacity, joining the race.
Other energy firms such as Absolute Clean Energy Plc, TPC Power Holding Plc and UAC Global Plc are all in the mix as the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), which oversees the project, considers granting licences to qualified companies.
Energy for All allows businesses to co-invest in power plant projects with communities, which are encouraged to sell farm waste as fuel under a state plan to promote renewable resource-based energy.
KBS is expected to have an advantage over competitors because it is an operator of several biomass power plants that use sugar fibre from its milling process for the main fuel.
Having many employees with experience in the field may give KBS a leg up in the eyes of the regulator.
The company has also received approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission for its initial public offering worth 2.8 billion baht under Khonburi Sugar Power Plant Infrastructure Fund (KBSPIF).
Share sales will not exceed 280 million units.
KBS announced it was setting up the fund late last year to raise capital for its sugar mills and power generation businesses.
Executive director Issara Twilterm-sup said the fund will be allocated to projects with high potential for return on investment. Energy for All is one of them, he said.
The ERC plans to have power plants under the scheme produce a total of 1,000 megawatts of electricity between 2020 and 2023.
Licences for 100MW will be initially given to applicants this year. Companies that own unfinished power plants and those with revoked licences will be first selected to join the scheme.
According to KBS, part of the new investment will go towards its 18MW biomass power plant in Nakhon Rat- chasima as well as increasing sugar milling capacity.