Call to hasten B300bn spending on projects
Energy minister cites benefit for economy
Energy Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow is urging officials to speed up 300 billion baht in capital spending to help restore the pandemic-ravaged economy.
The budget allocation is scheduled for the period 2021 to 2026 to support energy projects, ranging from upstream and downstream oil and gas operations to petrochemical and power generation businesses, in both the state and private sectors.
Among the prominent projects are renewable energy development, now part of the government's agenda to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
Carbon neutrality refers to a balance between carbon dioxide emissions and absorption, aimed at slowing down global warming.
The government also plans to spend money developing electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure and modernising the power grid network.
"Stimulus packages to promote EVs are expected to be launched next year," said Mr Supattanapong.
So far the government has spent almost 97 billion baht during lockdown periods this year to support subsidy programmes to relieve people's living costs.
These include the provision of discounts on electricity bills and capping diesel prices as well as the prices of cooking gas and compressed natural gas.
In the future, the government will focus more on clean energy development in order to attain the carbon neutrality goal.
In Thailand, carbon dioxide emissions are expected to increase to a peak level in 2030 and then fall, said Mr Supattanapong.
Officials will continue with the "Energy for All" renewable scheme, which encourages communities and businesses to jointly invest in power generation facilities using biomass and biogas as fuels.
Energy for All is set to have a total capacity of 400 megawatts within 10 years.
The first-round of auctions held for Energy for All projects, with a total of 150MW in combined capacity, was held in September 2021.
Renewable energy development is part of the 2022 national energy plan, which is currently being drafted and scheduled to be completed next year.
The plan will set a direction for electricity generation, oil and gas production as well as energy management.
Kulit Sombatsiri, permanent secretary for energy, said the government will also spend money developing new petrochemical industries which will not only depend on oil and gas but also agricultural products over the next three decades.