Author Topic: Court revokes wind farm's lease of Alro land  (Read 406 times)

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Offline Johnnie F.

Court revokes wind farm's lease of Alro land
« on: February 01, 2017, 09:19:43 PM »


This wind farm in tambon Huay Bong, Dan Khun Thot district, of Nakhon Ratchasima province began operating in February 2013. The 207-megawatt project, owned by Wind Energy Holding, cost 13 billion baht and sells its electricity to the national grid. (Bangkok Post file photo)

The Supreme Administrative Court has upheld the Administrative Court's revocation of a decision by the land reform committee of Chaiyaphum province to rent land in Thep Sathit district to a private company to build a wind farm.

The land is located in a Grade 1B area and originally intended for distribution to farmers under the agricultural land reform scheme, or Sor Por Kor land.

On Sept 23, 2009, the land reform office of Chaiyaphum province passed a resolution to rent this Sor Por Kor land in tambon Ban Rai of Thep Sathit district to Thep Sathit Wind Farm Company to build a wind farm to produce electricity.

Based on the provincial land reform committee's decision, in 2012 the Agricultural Land Reform Office (Alro)  signed a contract allowing Thep Sathit Wind Farm Company to rent the 39-rai for 27 years for a wind farm. The rental was 32,000 baht per rai/year.

The wind farm would have a generating capacity of 90MW and cost about 6 billion baht to build.

This prompted 10 residents in tambon Ban Rai and the Association of Lawyers for Environmental Protection to file a lawsuit with the Nakhon Ratchasima Administrative Court against the original resolution.

The lawsuit named the Agricultural Land Reform Office (Alro) secretary-general, the Chaiyaphum land reform committee, and Thep Sathit Wind Farm the 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants respectively.

The Nakhon Ratchasima Administrative Court ruled that the Chaiyaphum land reform committee's decision to rent the land to the company was illegal and ordered the revocation of the resolution.

The defendants took the case to the Supreme Administrative Court.

The court on Wednesday ruled that the third defendant's wind farm for the production of electricity is not farming as set down under the Sor Por Kor land scheme. Therefore the land's rental is in breach of the announcement of the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry on agricultural land reform.

The court upheld the lower court's decision revoking the resolution to rent the land to Thep Sathit Wind Farm.

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Offline Johnnie F.

Re: Court revokes wind farm's lease of Alro land
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2017, 12:50:51 PM »
Alro touts wind farm benefits for growers

Wind farm operators, whose land leases in Nakhon Ratchasima are subject to review following a court ruling on the misuse of land primarily allocated for farmers, are being cast in a positive light with local officials saying their yearly rents, worth more than 10 million baht, go back to farmers and landless people.

The benefits were revealed yesterday by the Agricultural Land Reform Office's (Alro) Nakhon Ratchasima branch which is in the throes of a legal complication after the Supreme Administrative Court ruled that an approval, granted by the Chaiyaphum land reform committee, to lease a plot of land to Thep Sathit Wind Farm Co was unlawful and ordered it revoked on Tuesday.

Though the firm's operations on 39 rai of land converts wind into electricity, which benefits the public, according to the ruling, the use of land, known as Sor Por Kor land which is overseen by Alro, must be in line with its original purpose which is aimed at helping farmers acquire land for farming.

The court's ruling, which states that generating electricity does not provide direct benefits to farmers, prompted Alro to reconsider its several hundred rai of Sor Por Kor land lease contracts which it signed with companies in Chaiyaphum and Nakhon Ratchasima.

Alro should consider that the 10-million-baht rent money which normally goes to the Agricultural Land Reform Fund, would become a loan source for farmers or be used to purchase new land plots for redistribution to landless people, said Chamnan Klinchan, an official of Alro's Nakhon Ratchasima branch.

Officials can also consider spending part of the money developing facilities on Sor Por Kor land, he said, adding he already informed Alro's head office.

Alro secretary-general Sompong Inthong said earlier that any contracts on Sor Por Kor land use made with a total of 19 companies in the two provinces must be amended if they are found to have breached the court's ruling.

Bangkok Post
Fun is the one thing that money can't buy
 

Offline Johnnie F.

Re: Court revokes wind farm's lease of Alro land
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2017, 12:52:30 PM »

Dodgy wind farm deals to get the chop

Any 'Sor Por Kor' land lease contracts for wind energy projects which are deemed a misuse of the land will be cancelled, Agriculture Minister Chatchai Sarikulya says.

The contracts for the land leased to the remaining 19 companies that build wind farms to generate electricity must be reviewed within 90 days or by April 26 to comply with a recent Supreme Administrative Court ruling, he said.

Any contracts which breach the law based on the court's ruling will be amended, Gen Chatchai said.

The Nakhon Ratchasima Administrative Court ruled recently the Chaiyaphum land reform committee's decision to lease the land to Thep Sathit Wind Farm Co was unlawful and ordered it revoked.

According to the court, the land lease for the company is in breach of the agricultural land reform law which requires that allowing Sor Por Kor land use for activities other than agriculture can be done only if those activities are in the interests of farmers.

Wind farms generate electricity, which is in the interests of the public. However, they are also a profit-making business and do not offer direct benefits to farmers, the court said. The court upheld the lower court's decision.

Chamnan Klinchan, a Nakhon Ratchasima land reform officer, said the office is waiting for instructions from the Agricultural Land Reform Office, adding seven companies had asked the office on how to proceed.

The office is ready to comply with the court ruling that provincial land reform committees have no authority to lease such land to the private company.

The Agricultural Land Reform Office (Alro) will inspect wind farm projects run by the remaining 19 companies to see if any of them comply with the law.

The findings are expected to be wrapped up next week, Mr Chamnan said.

Alro has approved Sor Por Kor land lease contracts for 20 business operators in Chaiyaphum and Nakhon Ratchasima.

In Chaiyaphum, there are 13 companies, including the Thep Sathit Wind Farm, which have leased land covering 380 rai. Of them, four companies are operational, six wind farms are under construction and two have not begun construction.

In Nakhon Ratchasima, seven companies received approval to lease land covering 282 rai. Two of them are operating and the remaining five are under construction.

The court case in Chaiyaphum, which has raised doubts over the fate of wind farm projects, came about after protests by 10 residents of tambon Ban Rai and the Association of Lawyers for Environmental Protection.

The group filed a lawsuit with the Administrative Court against officials for allowing the land to be leased to Thep Sathit Wind Farm Co.

On Sept 23, 2009, the land reform committee of Chaiyaphum province adopted a resolution to rent the land to Thep Sathit Wind Farm Co -- 100%-owned by Energy Absolute Plc (EA), a SET-listed renewable power generator -- to build a wind farm to produce electricity.

Based on the provincial land reform committee's decision, Alro signed a contract in 2012 allowing the company to rent the 39-rai plot for 27 years.

Bangkok Post
Fun is the one thing that money can't buy
 

 



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