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NEPC panels to probe power plant programme

Dec 21. 2015
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THE NATIONAL Energy Policy Council has approved the setting up of two committees to look into the government’s promotion of biomass power plants and solar farms following a complaint from private operators.
The NEPC has also acknowledged in principle the implementation of feed-in tariffs by the Ministry of Energy which would replace the adder programme for very small power producers – those less than 10 megawatts in production capacity. 
The subsidy would last for 20 years, and the rates would be different depending power plants size and fuel types.
There is a problem, however. Waste-to-energy VSPP operators are provided with higher incentives than operators using other types of fuel. 
The feed-in tariff subsidy for incinerator power plants would be 10 satang to 30 satang higher per unit in the first eight years.
Some operators have received the full eight-year adder rates and some have not because they believe they would be disadvantaged by the change and yesterday filed a complaint at Government House where the NEPC met, also yesterday. 
No promise 
“Since there is a problem, even though the decision has already been made, we will set up the committees to oversee the problem but we cannot promise to help all operators since helping one type of operator will disadvantage the others,” Energy Minister Anantaporn Kanjanarat told reporters after the meeting that was chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. 
Meanwhile, the latest regulation for the purchase of power from ground-mounted solar projects, or solar farms, for governmental agencies and agricultural cooperatives means that only one application may be made by an agency or cooperative.
The applications for the latest purchasing round have been filed with the Energy Regulatory Commission since November. Applicants that pass the qualification screening process can participate in the second step of the selection process by drawing lots.
That process was supposed to occur today but had been delayed to January following the complaint from a cooperative.
The power purchase target has been prescribed for each area and will not exceed 800 megawatts. 
The target in phase one is 600MW (not exceeding 300MW for government agencies and not exceeding 300MW for agricultural cooperative). 
The drawing of lots that has been delayed until January is |for 300MW for government agencies. However, some military members of the NEPC have pointed out that process might be against the Public Private Partnerships Act.
The Energy Policy and Planning Office has been tasked with the duty of setting up the two committees to look into the issue and the Finance Ministry will inspect whether the purchase of power from ground-mounted solar projects for governmental agencies is against the Public Private Partnerships Act.
If the Finance Ministry deems that government purchase for governmental agencies is against the law, the drawing of lots for the remaining 500MW – including the 200MW left over from phase one – could only feature cooperatives.

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