Encon allots B2bn budget

Encon allots B2bn budget

Projects mostly for renewables

The Energy Ministry has agreed to approve a 2-billion-baht budget to support 1,035 energy efficiency and renewable energy projects through the Energy Conservation Fund.

Authorities had to screen them from among 5,155 projects, worth 62 billion baht, as the fund -- which is called Encon -- has a budget of 5.6 billion baht for use in fiscal 2020.

"The number of projects that applied to be financed by Encon was higher than expected," said Kulit Sombatsiri, permanent secretary for energy.

He said a large portion of the 2-billion-baht package will go to 1,019 renewable energy projects, valued at 1.53 billion baht, while the remainder will support 16 projects to increase energy efficiency, worth 535 million baht.

Established under the 1992 Energy Conservation and Promotion Act, Encon has become the government's key financial mechanism to support energy efficiency and renewable energy development.

The fund aims to address problems involving access to financial aid, which has been a key barrier to projects meant to increase energy efficiency and promote clean energy.

The Energy Efficiency Revolving Fund and the Energy Service Company Fund are two major financial sources under Encon.

The Energy Ministry is also discussing ways to improve criteria to better select projects for fiscal 2021 with the Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation Ministry.

"Instead of considering projects proposed under different categories, we'll focus on what outcomes, including innovations, they will bring," said Mr Kulit.

The new criteria is expected to be finished in the middle of September.

Energy officials are also working on plans to use part of Encon to help the government deal with the Covid-19 impact, following a suggestion by newly appointed Energy Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow.

They include plans to employ new graduates, both holders of bachelor's degrees and vocational certificates, and giving financial aid to students who cannot afford to pay tuition fees as a result of the pandemic.

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