Clean and green: Government aims for 50% renewable energy


With the aim of doing its part to mitigate climate change, Thailand is preparing to announce an ambitious goal of sourcing 50 percent of its power from renewable sources in 40 years, the Minister of Energy said last week, although the government is still debating the details of how that goal will be achieved.

“This policy will help mitigate global warming, which is mainly driven by energy production and consumption,” said Minister of Energy Siri Jirapongphan.

In Southeast Asia, Thailand is already the leader in the production of solar and wind power, and that lead should lengthen as more alternative energy projects start coming online during the next few years. The Kingdom currently sources 14 percent of its energy from renewable sources, double the percentage from 2007.

The government had earlier established a target of sourcing 30 percent of all its power from renewable sources by 2036 under its Alternative Energy Development Plan. Siri said that target would be adjusted when the new plan is finalized. Thailand has committed itself to these measures as a signatory to the Paris Agreement (COP21) on Climate Change.

To advance the adoption of alternative energy, this year the Thai government enacted a plan that allows people to sell power back to the grid if they have installed rooftop solar photovoltaic systems. In addition, it is promoting the building of biomass power plants in the south that use agricultural waste as their source of fuel.

Royal Dutch Shell has been working with government officials to assist Thailand in meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement. Asada Harinsuit, chairman of Royal Dutch Shell’s local unit, said Shell Thailand is throwing its support behind the government’s aspirations to create a low-carbon energy system.

“As the country starts to adapt and prepare for the energy transition, we need to support policy, encourage innovation and new technologies, such as biofuel engines for car manufacturers and the use of more advanced technologies by bioenergy manufacturers to improve production,” he said.

Another element of the Thai government’s campaign to reduce carbon emissions has been to promote the production and sale of electric and hybrid vehicles. The Board of Investment has granted generous incentives to automakers such as Mercedes Benz and Toyota that are producing those vehicles, but the popularity of electric cars is still low.

Sales of those electric and hybrid cars may increase, however, as some companies have begun installing charging stations around Bangkok and in other provinces.