After much buzz and anticipation in the Thai energy industry, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has finally published (i) the official Regulations for Purchasing Electricity from Renewable Energy Sources under a Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) Scheme between 2022-2030 for Power Plants with No Fuel Costs (“New RE Quota Regulations“) on 27 September 2022, and (ii) the official Invitation Notifications for Purchasing Electricity from Renewable Energy Sources under a Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) Scheme between 2022-2030 for Power Plants with No Fuel Costs (“RFPs“), specifying the bidding process and timeline of each type of renewable power plant on 30 September 2022. In keeping with Thailand’s commitment to increase renewable energy’s share in the country’s overall power mix to at least 50% by 2050 and achieve carbon neutrality and net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and 2065, respectively, the government will be accepting bids in November to purchase power generated from renewable energy sources in the years between 2024 to 2030.
The New RE Quota Regulations sets out the key features, nature and scope of eligible renewable energy projects as well as the qualifications of eligible project participants, as follows:
(1) Purchasing Targets:
- State distribution utilities will purchase electricity generated from small power producers (SPPs) or very small power producers (VSPPs) utilizing the following renewable energy sources: (i) biogas (wastewater/waste), (ii) wind, (iii) ground-mounted solar coupled with battery energy storage systems (Solar+BESS) and (iv) ground-mounted solar.
- Power purchase agreements (PPAs) will be awarded by state distribution utilities on (i) a “non-firm1” basis for biogas, wind and solar power plants with a contracted capacity of not more than 90 MW; and (ii) a “partial-firm2” basis for Solar+BESS power plants with a contracted capacity of more than 10 MW but not exceeding 90 MW, each with a term of 20-25 years.
- Total purchasing target under the New RE Quota Regulations is 5,203 MW (335 MW for biogas, 1,500 MW for wind, 2,368 MW for ground-mounted solar and 1,000 MW for Solar+BESS).
(2) FiT Rates:
FiT rates for the awarded projects will be as follows:
|Type of power plants||FiT (THB per unit)||Term of FiT|
|Ground-mounted Solar||2.1679||–||2.1679||25 years|
|Solar+BESS (with a contracted capacity > 10-90 MW)||2.8331||–||2.8331||25 years|
(3) Restriction on Foreign Participation
- Unless there is an available exemption (i) under any international agreements with respect to “national treatment” or (ii) under any other laws:
- all participants must be juristic entities incorporated under Thai laws or registered in Thailand;
- in the case of a participant that is a company, the percentage of foreign ultimate shareholding in such participant must not be more than 49% of its total shares and out of the total number of its shareholders, not more than half can be foreigners;
- at least one-half of all directors in the participant must be Thai; and
- the authorized signatories of the participant must be Thai nationals.
(4) Restriction on Transfer of Shares
- At least 50% of all shares in the participants must be maintained by the original shareholders listed in their respective bid submission packages for a period of three years after the project’s commercial operation date (COD), unless the participants are listed companies.
(5) Registered Capital and Security Requirements
- The minimum registered capital requirement of each participant is at least THB 2,000 per kW of the aggregate proposed contracted capacity covering all project proposals tendered by the same participant.
- Participants must place a bid security in the amount of THB 1,000 per kW of the proposed contracted capacity per project.
- In the case of non-firm PPAs, a development security in the amount of THB 1,000 per kW of the proposed contracted capacity must be placed before entering into the PPAs. In the case of partial-firm PPAs, a development security in the amount of THB 8,000 per kW of the proposed contracted capacity must be placed before entering into the PPAs.
- Projects awarded a PPA under the New RE Quota Regulations must be new projects and not existing ones operating under any other previously-announced scheme or quota, or which have any other commitment with the government.
- Potential projects will be evaluated based on a scoring criteria taking into account the four categories of readiness, project development and financial capabilities of the participants and the proposed projects, being project site, technology, fuels and financial capabilities.
- Where multiple participants propose to sell power at the same connection point, causing the load limit at that connection point to be exceeded and the facility cannot be upgraded, the selection of participants proposing to sell power at that connection point will be considered according to the following order of priority based on the type of renewable power plants:
- biogas (waste water/waste) power plant
- wind power plant
- solar+BESS power plant
- ground-mounted solar
(7) PPA and SCOD
- Within 14 days after the list of awarded participants has been announced (“CP Period“), the awarded participants must acknowledge and agree to comply with the conditions precedent to entering into the PPAs.
- The awarded participants whose projects have a scheduled commercial operation date (SCOD) falling in the years between 2024 to 2025 must enter into PPAs with the relevant state utility within 180 days from the end of the CP Period. The awarded participants whose projects have a SCOD falling in the years 2026 to 2030 must enter into PPAs with the relevant state utility within two years from the end of the CP Period.
- In the case that the awarded participants fail to achieve COD of their respective projects within 12 months from the relevant SCOD, the PPAs for those projects will be automatically terminated without prior notice.
- Any Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) derived from the projects operating under the New RE Quota Regulations must belong to state utilities or government agencies.
(9) Other conditions to be set out in the PPAs
- Participants cannot change the details of the project’s location, the proposed contracted capacity, or the type of renewable power plant.
- Biogas power plants are prohibited from using any type of fossil fuel to power up their generation facilities (except during the commissioning phase only).
(10) Key Bidding Process and Timeline
Pursuant to the RFPs, the key steps and timelines for the bidding process are as follows:
|Participants submit a proposal application and other required bidding documents in PDF format via the RE Proposal online system at www.erc.or.th||From 4 November 2022 at 00.01 am to 25 November 2022 at noon (12.00 pm)|
|Participants submit a proposal application and bidding documents to state utilities||Within three business days after receiving confirmation of the submission of a proposal application and bidding documents from the RE Proposal online system but in any event no later than 25 November 2022 at noon (12.00 pm)|
|State utilities publish the list of all qualified participants||Within 2 December 2022|
|ERC announces the list of all awarded participants||Within 15 March 2023|
|State utilities notify the awarded participants and request their acknowledgement and consent of the conditions precedent to entering into the PPAs||Within 29 March 2023|
|Awarded participants enter into the PPAs||– Awarded participants whose projects have a SCOD falling in the years 2024 to 2025 must enter into their respective PPAs with the relevant state utility within 180 days from the end of the CP Period.|
– Awarded participants whose projects have a SCOD falling in the years 2026 to 2030 must enter into their respective PPAs with the relevant state utility within two years from the end of the CP Period.
Don’t miss out!
This latest round of renewable energy auctions presents a remarkable opportunity, not only for existing players in the Thai power sector, but also for new sponsors, investors and developers — both Thai and foreign alike — keen to land their first footprint in the Thai renewable energy scene, particularly now that the energy transition to a lower carbon future is imminent. Though competition is bound to be fierce, this is a chance that should not be missed and our team of expert project lawyers stands ready to help you navigate the intricacies of participating in this auction.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to us should you have any queries on the New RE Quota Regulations or the RFPs or would like to seek further advice on qualifying under the New RE Quota Regulations.
1 “Non-firm” means no commitment to purchase a specific amount of electricity throughout the term of the PPA.
2 “Partial-firm” means a commitment to purchase a certain amount of electricity during a specific period throughout the term of the PPA.