Energy for All is still on the cards

Energy for All is still on the cards

Minister says scheme is behind schedule

Kulit Sombatsiri, permanent secretary for energy
Kulit Sombatsiri, permanent secretary for energy

Energy policymakers have insisted they will not scrap the Energy for All renewable power scheme, denying a report that it cannot be implemented because of a legal problem.

An Energy Ministry source who requested anonymity earlier said Energy for All, which was introduced in 2019, has not been included in the 2018 power development plan, so its implementation may violate power trade regulations, according to media reports.

However, Kulit Sombatsiri, the permanent energy secretary, on Monday said Energy for All will be implemented but is behind schedule, earlier projected to start in the fourth quarter this year, as officials are amending some of its conditions.

New conditions will improve benefit sharing between communities and investors, the business model is being finalised and power transmission lines are being checked to ensure readiness.

"We want this project to be a key economic driver during the recession in the post-Covid-19 period, so we want to ensure it will be sustainable," said Mr Kulit.

He declined to elaborate on the amendment, but said the new Energy for All version will be finalised within this month and approved by the National Policy Energy Council in October.

An energy official who requested anonymity said the scheme was partially delayed by a new idea to encourage participating villagers to grow fast-growing trees like acacia and bamboo as fuel for power plants instead of relying on agricultural waste.

Chatchaphol Prasopchoke, chief executive and president of UAC Global Plc, a SET-listed chemical trader and renewable power operator, said the company's two power plants in Khon Kaen's Phu Pha Man district, each with a capacity of 1.5 megawatts, have been built and his company is ready to join the scheme.

However, he is awaiting clearer direction on the project, he said.

Energy for All is part of the Energy Ministry's attempts to boost the economy.

The ministry also plans to allocate part of the budget under the Energy Conservation Fund (ECF) to create jobs for new graduates and support sales of community-made products under the One Tambon, One Product project.

ECF is financed by cash collected from motorists who are required to pay a 0.1-baht levy when they buy oil.

Around 10 billion baht is raised each year, with most of the fund supporting energy efficiency management projects.

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