Energy Absolute to invest $1.4b in Thailand renewable energy sector

Energy Absolute has plans to spend $1.4 billion over the next three years to boost generation capacity from renewable energy.

The company is spending 17 billion baht to build two solar projects with combined capacity of 180 megawatts. It plans to invest an additional 29 billion baht on wind farms with total output of 390 megawatts.

Energy Absolute in December began operating a 90 MW solar farm and a second 90 MW plant will begin commercial operation at the end of the year.

Wind farms in the southern Thai province with total capacity of 126 MW will be completed in September 2015, and wind projects in Chaiyaphum province in the country’s northeast, will be built by 2017.

The company’s profit reached 408.4 million baht in the second quarter, from 60.5 million baht last year due to the revenue from newly operating solar power plant.

Capacity from solar and wind will rise to 4,800 MW by 2021 from 1,046 MW in 2013.

Once all projects are completed, the capacity will increase by 570 MW by 2017 from about 100 MW.

Energy Absolute also has the capacity to produce more than 211,000 gallons of biodiesel daily. Biomass still accounts for the majority of Thailand’s renewable energy capacity.

Thailand had 2,085 MW of biomass capacity compared with 847MW of solar and 242 MW of wind in 2013.

Energy Absolute is diversifying into renewable energy for easy access to the national grid and financing to ramp up capacity.

From 1992 onwards, Thailand began providing incentives to reduce the country’s reliance on imports, which still account for more than half of its energy supply.

The company aims to be the leading operator of renewable energy in Thailand and the region. 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, said, Amorn Sapthaweeku, CFO, Energy Absolute.

About three-fourths of the investment funds for the projects will come from commercial bank loans and the remainder from the company’s cash flow.

Investment in solar farms will further strengthen company’s lead among Thailand’s operators of solar power plants, but wind power plants will be riskier due to the unpredictable wind and harder financing, said, Kriengkrai Tumnutud, analyst, AEC Securities.

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