Thai solar power set to lead in the region

TF3By the end of this year, Thailand will be generating more electricity from solar power than the rest of Southeast Asia combined as more than 1,200 megawatts are slated to come online, according to industry sources.

About 1,200-1,500 megawatts (MW) of solar capacity will be connected to the grid this year, on investments of as much as $2.7 billion, bringing Thailand’s solar capacity to 2,500-2,800 MW, a doubling of its capacity of about 1,300 MW in 2014. This year’s additions will be almost six times more than the capacity added last year.

Thailand still pales as a solar energy producer compared to some more developed countries such as Germany. Nonetheless, within Southeast Asia, Thailand is the most progressive nation in terms of solar and alternative energies. The additional capacity “will turn Thailand into the first significant solar power producer in a region where the sector has barely taken off,” according to Reuters news agency.

The Kingdom is also the regional leader in power generated from wind technology, and has been investing in biomass power plants.

The drive to source more energy from solar and renewables stems from the Kingdom’s over-reliance on natural gas, oil imports from the Middle East and coal, couple with its desire to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). Emissions of greenhouse gases have been linked to climate change, and the United Nations has said Thailand is one of the countries that have been most negatively affected by climate change.

Thailand will commit to cutting its GHG emissions by between 7 percent and 20 percent by 2020 when it attend the 2015 Climate Change Conference in Paris, of COP21, late this year. A seven percent reduction would be equal to 23 million tons of GHG.

Also last week, Thai Appliance Industry signed a memorandum of understanding with China Holdings and Singapore-based Asiatic Group to build 10 solar power plants in Thailand with an investment of $88.24 million. Each plant will have generating capacity of 5 MW and will require investment of about $9 million. They will be set up in different provinces such as Nakhon Sawan, Lampang, Kanchanaburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan.

Investment in solar by Thai companies isn’t limited to the Kingdom. Thailand’s Superblock also signed a memorandum of understanding last week with Japan’s Energy Complex to invest around $800 million in setting up a 300 MW solar farm in Japan.

Construction of the first 70 MW capacity plant will start in the fourth quarter of this year. It plans to take it to full capacity by the early 2017.


Thailand Focus July 20th ,2015
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