Energy Efficiency Loans for Thailand's SMEs

THAILAND’S Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency (DEDE) is encouraging SMEs to switch to energy-saving machinery and equipment with soft loans available next year.

The Bangkok Post reports DEDE Director-general Thammayot Srichuai as saying the loans would total 10 billion baht, helping SMEs seeking to modify machines or replace ageing equipment with energy-saving units.

The post explains that of the total, some 4 billion baht in soft loans would be from the nation’s Energy Conservation Fund. The remaining 6 billion would be from commercial banks, which would also help disburse the loans to SMEs, with an interest rate will be below 3.5% and each company could receive up to 50 million baht in loans, he said.

The repayment period for loans is expected to be a maximum of four years, while the scheme is expected to cut energy consumption by 10%-20%, he said.

Thammayot said the ice-making and cold storage industries are target sectors for the loans as they are classified as energy-consuming industries, with energy making up 60-70% of their production costs.

He said office buildings would be another target group, with the government encouraging them to change air conditioners, which consume around 40% of electricity. Some 10% of power in buildings is consumed by lighting.

Thammayot added it was an appropriate time for companies to change equipment because of the global economic slowdown and cheap oil prices, making the cost of changing equipment lower.

A switch should help companies be ready to compete when oil and energy prices rebound.

Deputy Energy Minister Nattipon Kanokchot said the country's policymakers encouraged both state agencies and private companies to change to energy-efficient equipment.

The Energy Ministry is in talks with the Finance Ministry to rejig some regulations on budget payments to encourage state agencies to change equipment.

He said if the plan was accomplished, there would be dozens more state buildings in the energy-saving programme, including state schools, universities, hospitals and local administration offices.

Source: Bangkok Post. Picture of Khao San Road, Bangkok, by Kevin Poh reproduced under CCL.

Monday 14th December 2015

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