Gunkul Engineering Plc, a key renewable energy developer and construction company, is diversifying into cannabis development and hemp-based products by turning some of its wind farms into cultivation and production facilities.
The company wants to take advantage of the state policy that delists marijuana and hemp from the narcotics category to earn extra revenue as well as make use of vacant land near its wind turbines.
Gunkul is interested in growing the plants and processing them for medicine and the food and beverage business.
“These products have high potential in overseas markets, particularly Japan and Europe, and we are the only Asian country that can apply them legally, especially for medical purposes,” said Phongsakorn Damnoen, Gunkul chief operations officer for energy business.
The firm is conducting a trial on 150 rai under its plan to combine its clean energy facilities with agricultural fields and green areas.
It currently runs five wind power plants, with a total contracted capacity of 170 megawatts, mostly in Nakhon Ratchasima.
“We have vacant land under our wind turbines, spanning 5,000 rai, with water sources located nearby, so we can set up a new business,” said Gunkul chief executive Sopacha Dhumrongpiyawut.
Mr Phongsakorn said the company has prepared cultivation facilities under the smart farming concept. Farming is the focus in the first year of its new business before processing of cannabis and hemp.
Gunkul plans to build a cannabidiol oil distillation factory in the next phase. Both cannabis and hemp contain cannabidiol, also known as CBD, which can be applied for treatments of many ailments.
Gunkul is studying the process of registering its CBD-based products and talking with prospective buyers.
In the power segment, the company allocated 20 billion baht in capital spending to increase power generation capacity by 1,000MW between 2021 and 2022. Up to 80% of the money supports plans to develop and acquire renewable energy facilities in Thailand, Vietnam and Taiwan. The rest is for the independent power supply scheme, developing generation facilities including rooftop solar panels for customers.