Following a request for permission to construct a biomass-based electricity generating plant filed by Mitr Phol, one of Thailand’s leading sugar manufacturers, both negative and positive concerns were widely voiced by the public. Whether people supported or objected to the project, the Thai government has resolved to issue a license for energy business to Mitr Phol Bio-Power Ltd. in Amnart Charoen, thus making sugar cane planters and farm owners in the province and Yasothon very happy.
Regarding construction of the electricity generating plant, Mr. Phaithun Praphatharo, Deputy Managing Director of Mitr Phol Sugar Business Group, explained that it was a joint project to improve economic conditions in Amnart Charoen and Yasothon because the sugar factory in the provinces can increase employment rate for over 400 people while supporting and stabilizing profession of local sugar cane planters from more than 7,500 households and boosting circulating income of around 2,500 million Thai Baht a year. More importantly, it will facilitate sugar cane transport of local people to over 120 million Thai Baht. Doing so will enable them to earn more income and have better life quality.
Ms. Narupat Amornkosit, Secretary General of Office of the Energy Regulatory Commission (OERC), said that the OERC had approved the license to Mits Phol Bio-Power Ltd. In Amnart Charoen to perform energy-based business. The company has installed production power of 32,500.00 kVA or 26.000 MW to generate electricity based on biomass power, namely bagasse, cane leaves and chopped wood. The issued license consists of one to perform electricity business, one to electrical power distribution systems, one to electrical power distribution, one to construct buildings and one to perform business on electricity generating plant.
The OERC also introduced measures for additional supervision besides ones for prevention and solution to environmental problems as well as follow-up on environmental impact in conformity with the EIA report to cover all complaints and effects resulted from the project.
In addition, the Mitr Phol Group was pleased to adopt a measure to minimize risks and impact on environment according to local people’s concern so that its project would serve as a role model on biomass electricity generating plant. There, the staff are required to follow the rules strictly to take care of local communities, society and environment in a sustainable way. Rule violation and negligence that cause pollution and impact higher than required standards will be subject to immediate work cancellation at any time.
Concerning Amnart Charoen’s sugar cane planters and farm owners led by the chairman of Lam Se Bai Sugar Cane Planter Cooperatives, they gathered in front of a sugar cane transfer station in front of the construction site to express thanks to OERC for finalizing the license to Mitr Phol Group after a prolonged period. Doing so enabled the already constructed sugar factory to buy sugar cane from local planters and extract it.
Mrs. Deunchai Chanthowong, a sugar cane planter from Hua Taphan District in Amnart Charoen, said that she was highly glad to learn that the OERC had granted permission for biomass electricity generating plant so that sugar cane could be finally sold to the sugar factory. Doing so will reduce transport expenses paid by sugar cane farm owners who had to travel to sell their product at a sugar factory in Kusi Narai District in Kalasin, but ended up waiting in a long line because the area also has a lot of sugar cane farms and factories located. The sugar factory and biomass-based electricity generating plant built in Amnart Charoen will help lower the cost on sugar cane transport and minimize waiting time for product transfer, thus increasing income of local people and reducing loss of costs and sugar cane original weight.