The application period for very small power producers (VSPPs) aiming to participate in the community power plant project is fast drawing to a close, with the deadline set for February 4, 2021.
February 4 is also the closing date of the period for public comments on the two draft regulations outlining the pilot project to procure electricity from community power plants. These draft regulations are being finalized by the Energy Regulation Commission (ERC) as part of an effort to boost the economy at a grassroots level.
The community power plant project will procure 150 MW from VSPPs producing electricity from either biomass or biogas. 75 MW will be obtained from biomass VSPPs, with a limit of 6 MW to each biomass VSPP, while 75 MW of the electricity procurement will be obtained from biogas VSPPs with a limit of 3 MW each.
VSPPs wishing to apply for the community power plant project must be 90%-owned by a private company, while 10% of ownership must be under a community enterprise or community enterprise network—consisting of at least 200 households—registered with the Department of Agricultural Extension. Furthermore, the fuel used by the VSPP must be either biogas or biomass obtained from the community enterprise or community enterprise network, and must not include fossil fuels.
Once VSPPs have submitted their applications, they will be subject to a technical assessment to determine power production readiness, and will undergo a process of competitive bidding. VSPPs will be compared and selected based on a number of factors, including power production capacity, ability to operate for duration of the 20-year project, and the proposed fixed feed-in tariff (FiT).
VSPPs that are chosen to participate in this pilot project will be subject to the following FiTs per unit of electricity, based on the type of fuel and production level:
- Biomass VSPPs providing less than 3 MW – 4.842 baht per unit
- Biomass VSPPs providing more than 3 MW – 4.2636 baht per unit
- Biogas VSPPs – 4.7269 baht per unit
VSPPs operating in special allocated zones may be entitled to an additional FiT of 0.50 baht per unit.
The results of the electricity procurement selection are scheduled to be announced by May 31, 2021, and the commercial operation date (COD) will be set for within the end of November 2024.