New investors are expected to join the second phase of the waste-to-energy (WTE) scheme between 2022 and 2023, with electricity generation capacity of 600 megawatts, as energy and industry authorities continue to promote refuse-derived fuel after a delay caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The capacity -- 400MW to be produced by community waste and 200MW by industrial waste -- is based on the revised national alternative energy development plan.
An auction for WTE projects, with capacity of 300MW, will be first held this year, said a source at the Energy Ministry, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Of the 300MW, 200MW is in the community waste category while 100MW is generated by industrial waste.
Authorities expect the power plants under this auction to be operating by 2024.
An auction for the remaining 300MW projects is scheduled to be held next year, with the same proportion of community and industrial waste.
Commercial operations of power plants under the second auction are scheduled for 2025.
WTE is a part of the government's renewable energy development, which is aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emitted by fossil fuel-fired power plants. Other renewable energy includes solar, wind, biomass and biogas energy.
The first-phase WTE scheme started in 2017, with combined capacity of 344MW. Community waste made up 313.2MW of total capacity while the remaining 30.8MW came from industrial waste.
The energy and industry ministries agreed to promote more use of industrial waste under their memorandum of understanding, which was signed on Monday.
The Industry Ministry can supply 5 million tonnes a year, out of a total of 18 million tonnes of annual waste from the industrial sector, to the WTE project, said Wanchai Phanomchai, director-general of the Department of Industrial Works.
It excludes hazardous waste, which is disposed of at landfill or treated by a chemical process.
Thailand generates around 1.2 million tonnes of hazardous waste a year. They require special disposal under the state waste management, said Mr Wanchai.
He said the Industry Ministry supports the WTE project as a way to reduce waste in factories, a move that is in line with the bio-, circular and green (BCG) economic model.
"There are currently around 60,000 factories registered with the Industry Ministry," said Mr Wanchai.