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Thailand's investment in renewables seen at least S$4b in 2015

[BANGKOK] Thai energy policymakers expect investment in renewable energy of 100 to 200 billion baht (S$3.96-7.92 billion) in 2015, mainly due to an increase in capacity of solar farms and solar rooftop projects, the sector regulator said on Thursday.

The forecast was based on the assumption that installation costs for renewable energy would be about 50-70 million baht per megawatt (MW), Viraphol Jirapraditkul, spokesman of the Energy Regulatory Commission, told reporters.

Thailand uses natural gas for 65 per cent of its power generation but wants to reduce its dependence to 40 per cent over the next two decades and focus more on clean coal technology and renewable power.

In May, the energy ministry approved a plan to buy power from 172 solar farms with total capacity of 980 MW and commecial operations beginning in 2015.

It has also approved plans to give licences to private firms to produce a combined 800 MW of solar capacity for government organisations and agricultural cooperatives.

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That is part of the government's plan to increase renewable capacity to 19,635 MW by 2036, up 20 per cent from a previous target, with solar energy making up 31 per cent, biomass 28 per cent and wind power 15 per cent.

Solar power capacity is expected to rise to 6,000 MW over the next 21 years from 1,570 MW at the end of 2014, according to the ministry's latest power development plan.

Mr Viraphol said Thailand needed to invest 4.8 trillion baht in new power plants and electricity transmission lines as generating capacity was expected to double to 70,000 MW by 2036 under the long-term power plan.


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