Alternative energy gains momentum: Incentives likely to be extended
Jan 18, 2010 - Energy Central
Investments in alternative energy this year are likely to grow rapidly for this year given growing concern about climate change and the environment, says Krairit Nilkuha, director-general of the Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency (DEDE).
"This year should be another remarkable year for alternative energy. We have collaborated with private investors and financial institutions to promote investments in the sector," said Mr Krairit.
He said the department would ask the Board of Investment to extend its alternative energy investment promotional incentives for another year to maintain the momentum.
Last year, the BoI received applications for incentives from 402 alternative energy ventures worth a potential 229.1 billion baht, compared with 62 projects worth 19.9 billion the year before.
Applicants were looking to tap the additional benefits offered under the Thailand Investment Year programme, which ended on Dec 31. In addition to an eight-year corporate tax waiver, approved projects would qualify for a 50 percent discount on corporate income tax for the following five years.
"There were many investors awaiting incentive approval and some are considering investment here," said Mr Krairit.
The DEDE has applicants requesting operating permits for solar-power ventures totalling 1,000 megawatts, far better than its earlier expectation of only 55 MW.
The department plans to review research into wind and solar potential in Thailand in order to update prospective investors. The report will include wind-speed and sun ray intensity in each part of Thailand. The information has not been updated since 2000.
"The new research is expected to be finished in May, after which we hope to encourage investors to be confident in our potential to do business," said Mr Krairit.
The report will also include material on the potential of biomass based on data on farm wastes that can be used as for generating power, aiming to ensure a stable raw material supply.
The DEDE will also ask the Finance Ministry to prolong the import tax reduction to 60 percent from 80 percent for completely built up flexible-fuel vehicles that can use E85 gasohol, a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent petrol. The reduction is currently scheduled to expire at the end of this year.
The department will also seek to e tend the 3 percent subsidy on excise tax for FFVs.
"We expect locally made FFVs will rise to 7,300 units by end of this year from 1,100 as of December last year. New locally made FFVs will come from Mitsubishi, General Motors and Volvo," he said.
As well, the DEDE will double its budget to one billion baht for financing assistance to businesses that require energy consulting services to improve energy efficiency.
Last year, commercial banks provided loans totalling 77 billion baht for energy saving and efficiency under an Energy Ministry programme, which led to power bill savings of 4.6 billion baht.
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