Minister commits to repairing economy
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Minister commits to repairing economy

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Energy Minister Supattanapong Panmeechaow vows to revive the economy using energy projects, with the Energy for All scheme at the top of the list for quick remedies.

Critics want the government to delay Energy for All because of the huge surplus of the country's power generation capacity in reserve, but Mr Supattanapong said yesterday that the scheme would be the "first priority" and carried out within a month.

The minister said he has separate plans to solve the oversupply of electricity.

Energy for All encourages business people and communities to co-invest in power plants that use renewable resources. Officials say communities can earn extra income by supplying fast-growing plants, farm refuse and livestock waste to plants as fuels.

Mr Supattanapong said authorities are expected to grant the first licences to participants in the scheme within a month after it was initiated late last year.

The government plans to generate up to 1,000 megawatts of electricity from Energy for All over three years, starting with 100MW in the first year under the Quick Win concept, which focuses on power plants under construction or those yet to begin commercial operations.

The minister said he is aware of national power capacity reserved at more than 40% of total capacity. He plans to reduce the reserves by selling some to Myanmar and Cambodia, though the trade will require a few years to begin because transmission lines need to be developed.

Other energy projects to boost the economy include a plan to create jobs for newly graduated students.

Mr Supattanapong said the ministry will allocate budget from the Energy Conservation Fund to help stimulate employment.

The fund, which receives cash from fuel taxes, stands at 6.4 billion baht in value.

Education officials earlier expected there would be 400,000 new bachelor's degree holders this year.

Mr Supattanapong also plans to call for bids for licences for petroleum exploration and production under Round 23, which has been delayed for almost 13 years, by the end of this year, though global oil prices have remained low since the coronavirus outbreak.

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