GE believes Thailand 4.0 will reduce carbon emissions

General Electric, the United States-based conglomerate and major investor in Thailand, said last week that the Kingdom’s national strategy Thailand 4.0 will be a boon to the energy sector and the environment, with the potential to lower carbon emissions and achieve substantial cost savings through new technologies and greater efficiencies.

“The adoption of the latest digital technologies to enhance and optimize Thailand’s energy assets and networks, combined with deployment of the most efficient gas turbines, critical coal technology and the upgrading of existing plants and transmission and distribution networks, are together expected to provide Thailand with substantial savings and enormous reductions in carbon emissions,” the regional office of GE said in a press release.

Thailand 4.0 is a 20-year national strategy to transform the country’s economy and society from a reliance on assembly line manufacturing and rote learning to one driven by advanced and green technologies, innovation, and research and development. The strategy complements the country’s commitments to source 25 percent of its energy from renewables by 2036 and reduce its greenhouse gas emission by 20 to 25 percent by 2030.

Deputy Minister of Energy Surasak Srisak, speaking at the Asia Power Week international conference in Bangkok last week, said that the Kingdom intends to cut energy consumption by 10 Gigawatts by 2036 through a shift to clean energy, applying more widespread efficiency measures and improving infrastructure. These include projects to accelerate development of smart grids, microgrids and energy storage.

“We can see that renewables are needed,” Surasak said. “The role of renewables will be intensified.”

Thailand’s state-run energy company PTT recently reached an agreement with Marubeni of Japan to install sensors at Thai power plants that will gather operational data to be analyzed in order to increase efficiency. A gas-fired power plant in Rayong will most likely be the first to receive the sensors and an artificial intelligence system that will allow managers to find the optimal operational settings for efficiency and sustainability. The system will be the first energy system in Thailand using Internet of Things (IoT) technology.

GE said that it estimates that upgrades to plants such as the one in Rayong, and transmission and distribution networks, could produce savings of $6 billion, while digital optimization could add a further $2.6 billion in value, over the lifecycle of Thailand’s existing and upcoming power production, transmission and distribution assets.

“If fully implemented, these could also result in CO2 reduction of 8.6 million tons annually (about 9 percent of power-generated CO2 emissions today),’’ GE said.

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