ADB supporting Bangkok’s electric ferries, first in region

To finance the first fleet of electric-powered commuter ferries in Southeast Asia, a Thai renewable energy firm has secured $4.7 million in loans from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The electric ferry fleet will serve passengers in Bangkok on the Chao Phraya River.

“This project demonstrates the potential for electric mobility solutions beyond road vehicles to be adopted across Asia and the Pacific,” said Ashok Lavasa, ADB Vice-President for Private Sector Operations and Public–Private Partnerships.

Ferries remain an important mode of transport for commuters in Thailand’s capital. The city was once known as “the Venice of the East” because of its extensive system of canals and its location straddling the Chao Phraya River.

Modern urban development produced more roads, and consequently more cars, traffic jams and pollution. In recent years, Bangkok has been making a concerted effort to reverse that trend and adopt greener transport options.

The recipient of the loan is Energy Absolute. Founded in 2006, it is one of the largest renewable energy companies in Thailand and “a pioneer of sustainable transport in the country,” according to the ADB.

Energy Absolute will operate 27 e-ferries along the Chao Phraya River. Each ferry can carry up to 250 passengers per journey. The company said that the project will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by roughly 18,900 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent a year.

“Energy Absolute is proud to continue working with ADB as a trusted finance partner to support the expansion of our clean energy and sustainable transport business,” said Energy Absolute Deputy Chief Executive Officer Amorn Sapthaweekul.

“This project demonstrates Energy Absolute’s leadership in e-mobility in Thailand and the region, and the potential to use technology developed within the region to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” he added.

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