B9bn solar-cell farm for Lop Buri 73-MW facility will be largest in the world
Bangkokpost Published: 18/12/2009 at 12:00 AM
The Thai unit of Hong Kong-based China Light & Power (CLP) will join next year with Egco Group and Mitsubishi to invest in the world's largest photovoltaic solar-cell farm worth 9 billion baht, says managing director Woramol Khamkanist.
"Thailand is CLP's target as the government provides full support for renewable energy. We can enjoy a tax holiday, subsidies and soft loans that will make the project commercially viable. Compared to others in Southeast Asia, Thailand is better than anyone," Mr Woramol said.
CLP (Thailand) said the installation would be located in Lop Buri and have a total capacity of 73 megawatts.
As the project requires a massive investment, CLP decided to join with SET-listed Egco Group and Japan-based Mitsubishi. All three hold equal stakes in the new venture called Natural Energy Development Co (NED).
"The development of solar cells is part of our mission. The regional office is focusing on clean energy development and carbon cuts. We are aiming to see 20% of our capacity to be emission-free such as nuclear and hydro, with more than 5% of total capacity coming from renewable energy," said Mr Woramol.
The investors are now in the process of purchasing 1,160 rai in Lop Buri for the solar farm and are seeking investment privileges from the Board of Investment.
They are also waiting for its environmental impact assessment to be approved while selecting solar equipment, transformers and converter technology to match its requirements.
The company also hopes to sign a power purchase agreement with the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, the country's sole power buyer.
"The project will officially start construction in mid-January and once it begins operation by the end of 2011, our solar cell farm will be the world's largest, bigger than the current world leader at 60 MW in Spain," he said.
CLP group started to focus on non-emission power generation in 2004 by setting the goal of 10% of capacity this year from 1% in 2004. It aims to double this to 20% in 2020.
CLP also has set a target of cutting its power plants' carbon dioxide emissions by half to 0.45 kilogrammes per kilowatt/hour (unit) in 2035 from 0.8 kg per unit now.
CLP Thailand is also conducting a feasibility study for operating wind power in northeastern Thailand, in which it expects to join hands with Egco Group as its strategic partner.
"Our policy is quite clear, that we are moving towards the climate change issue. That is why our master investment plan for power development will focus on renewable energy, though the investment required huge money," said Mr Woramol.
The company is also testing the potential for building solar cells in India and for developing geothermal energy in Australia and offshore wind farms in the south of Hong Kong.
Siam Makro Plc opens the 47th Makro branch in Lop Buri to cover more restaurant, hotel, catering (HoReCa) and small retailers to offer comprehensive food products and equipment to serve the demands of professional operators in Lopburi and the neighbouring provinces.
With the Bt383 million investment, the new branch boasts the area of 31,184 sqm and 240 parking lots. It features 2,300 items of fresh and frozen food, 6,000 items of dry food and 2,800 items of consumer products to cover more HoReCa operators base. Makro currently has a HoReCa operators base 200,000 nationwide. HoReCa operators have increased sales growth every year.
"Lop Buri is the city with continuous growth of the development in industrial and agriculture. So Makro opens the 47th branch in Lopburi to serve Makro members, HoReCa operators and small retailers and who demand comprehensive consumer and food products with good quality at reasonable prices," said President Suchada Ithijarukul.
Throughout the 21 years of operations, Makro has enlisted over 2 million members including 500,000 small retailers and 1.5 million is hotels, restaurants and catering businesses (HoReCa), institutes and others.
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