Banpu allocates $156m for smart energy scheme

Banpu allocates $156m for smart energy scheme

Banpu Plc, a non-oil energy conglomerate, has allocated an investment budget worth US$156 million to its renewable energy and energy technology development as part of its "Smart Energy for Sustainability" scheme over the next five years.

A large portion of the money worth $110 million is for two renewable energy projects in Vietnam scheduled to start operation this year, while $46 million supports energy technology development, Banpu chief executive Somruedee Chaimongkol said yesterday.

The company formed a joint venture with its power generation arm Banpu Power to set up Banpu Next to directly oversee energy technology businesses, including electric vehicles (EVs), energy storage systems, energy efficiency management and Banpu's smart city project, which promotes wise use of energy.

"The company plans to scale up its EV businesses this year," said Ms Somruedee.

They include an electric ferry project serving tourists in scenic Phangnga Bay in southern Thailand, an electric tuk-tuk project in Bangkok and battery production for EVs and buildings.

The company earlier said it plans to increase the number of three-wheel vehicles to 1,000 this year. The tuk-tuk service, supported by Movmi vehicle-hailing application, targets passengers of mass transit trains in the capital.

The new investment budget will also help Durapower Co, a subsidiary of Banpu Next, to increase its battery production capacity from 1 to 3 gigawatt-hours within 2025, said Ms Somruedee.

In the natural gas-based power generation segment, Banpu is planning to acquire a gas-fired power plant near its Marcellus shale basin in Pennsylvania and Barnett shale basin in Texas, both with combined production capacity of 700 million cubic feet per day.

Mr Somruedee expects the result of the purchase deal should become clearer in the middle of this year.

The move will add value to its gas business, she said.

Despite a move towards clean energy, Banpu will continue its coal mining business, expecting its sales to increase by 13% this year to 43.9 from 38.8 million tonnes because of an increase in demand.

The price of coal stands at $80 a tonne, an increase from $53 in the fourth quarter last year.

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