Thailand set for $1.4bn renewables boost


Thailand’s promising solar industry received a welcome boost this week with the news that a leading domestic clean energy developer is set to invest $1.4 billion into the country’s renewable energy sector.

Bangkok-based Energy Absolute Pcl has announced its intention to develop a number of renewable energy projects in Thailand over the course of the next three years, with large-scales solar PV projects totaling 180 MW foremost in those plans.

Energy Absolute already owns Thailand’s largest solar PV plant (a 90 MW solar plant in Nakhon Sawan province), and hopes to add 570 MW of clean energy generating capacity to the national grid by 2017. Currently, the company’s renewable energy portfolio stands at approximately 100 MW.

CFO Amorn Sapthaweekul told Bloomberg that the company has committed to transitioning away from biodiesel production in order to take advantage of Thailand’s incentive schemes designed to deliver greater energy independence. Thailand’s energy ministry has stated on its website that it is targeting 4.8 GW of solar and wind capacity by 2021, up from 1,046 MW at the end of 2013.

"The company has a strong ambition to become the leading operator of renewable energy in Thailand and the region," Amorn said. "Revenue from solar and wind power plants will outstrip the company’s traditional biodiesel business after the completion of those new plants in the next few years."

Energy Absolute says that it will connect another 90 MW solar PV plant at the end of 2014, and will construct a similar-sized facility by December of next year. These projects are expected to be three-quarters funded via commercial bank loans as the Thai banking sector augments its presence in the country’s growing renewable energy sector.