November 21, 2017 / 1:32 PM / 21 days ago

INTERVIEW-Thai Banpu Power looks to diversify beyond coal

BANGKOK, Nov 21 (Reuters) - Thailand’s Banpu Power Pcl has its sights set on diversifying its portfolio beyond current borders and conventional energy, its chief executive told Reuters on Tuesday.

Banpu Power, the power generating arm of coal miner Banpu , has a target of producing 4,300 megawatts (MW) by 2025 with 20 percent from renewable sources.

The firm operates 14 power plants with a generating capacity of 2,068 MW, with 168 MW coming from solar farms in China and Japan. Its coal power plants in Thailand and Laos made up over 80 percent revenue, but it expects this to change.

It is developing a 1,300 MW plant in China with a partner, Chief Executive Voravudhi Linananda said, adding that the Thai and Laos revenue contribution ratio would decline in the future.

The company operates three cogeneration plants in China with a combined capacity of 345 MW. It has 10 solar projects under development in Japan, expected to come online after 2018.

“We are also considering investing in conventional and renewable energy projects in Indonesia and Vietnam,” Voravudhi said adding that investments would be with a local partner if projects are large.

While coal would still be its principal resource, Banpu Power’s strategy is a response to major trends such as distributed generation and advancements in battery and renewable technology, Voravudhi said.

Earlier this year, its parent company, Banpu bought stakes in a Singaporean green energy firm. Through this, Banpu was looking to offer retail and energy management services such as installing solar roofs for commercial and residential buildings.

In October, Banpu acquired a shale gas asset in the United States for $210 million, but Banpu Power does not yet have plans for gas-fired power plants, Voravudhi said, adding that it would be open to good opportunities.

Banpu and Banpu Power reported a surge in profit last quarter on higher coal prices and operational stability of its power plants.

Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng, editing by David Evans

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