Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding, Thailand's largest private power producer, begins construction of 9.9-MW wood-fueled biomass plant in Songkhla, Thailand; plant expected to begin commercial operations to supply electricity by October 2014

, October 16, 2013 () – Section: Business News - Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding Plc (Ratch), Thailand's largest private power producer, began construction of the Songkhla biomass project for commercial operation in October 2014, the Bangkok Post reports.

Procurement of engineering design and main power plant equipment as well as the construction of infrastructure and utilities have progressed as planned, said chief executive Pongdith Potchana.

Commissioning will be undertaken in June next year and the 9.9-megawatt plant is expected to start commercial operations to supply electricity to the Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA) by October.

"We aim to boost our renewable energy capacity to 500 MW, focusing on wind, solar and biomass," said Mr Pongdith.

"We have been seeking new biomass projects in Thailand, especially in the southern region, where there is plenty of farm waste to supply this type of power plant."

Feasibility studies for several potential projects have been carried out.

Located in Chana district, the Songkhla project was initiated in 2011 with an investment of about 800 million baht in accordance with the government's policy to reduce fossil fuel dependency in electricity generation.

The renewable energy and alternative energy development plan says the government aims for 3,630 MW of electricity from biomass in 2021, up from 1,790.

The Songkhla project will benefit surrounding communities in terms of employment and sales of farm waste of about 4 billion baht. Moreover, it will help reduce oil imports and carbon dioxide emissions by 37,500 tonnes annually.

Songkhla Biomass is a joint venture between Ratch and Precise Power Producers Co, who each own 40% each. The other 20% belongs to Assiddeek Savings Cooperative Ltd.

The power plant uses rubber wood slabs and roots of 300 to 370 tonnes daily as its primary fuel. It will supply electricity to the PEA under a 25-year power purchase agreement.

Classified as a very small power producer (VSPP), Songkhla Biomass will receive an adder tariff of 1.30 baht per unit for its first seven years of operation.

Shares of RATCH closed on October 14 on the SET at 51 baht, down 25 satang, in trade worth 41.59 million baht.

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