Pioneer the Possible: Thailand Accelerates Transition to Renewable Energy for Climate Goals

15 Nov 2023
Thailand has unveiled its plans to reduce carbon emissions and implement renewable energy sources to achieve net-zero emissions by 2065. Thailand’s goals are to cut emissions by 30-34 percent by 2030 and expect renewable energy to constitute over 50 percent of its power generation mix by 2037, a substantial increase from the previous target of 20 percent, according to Bangkok Post. This year, Prime Minister Mr. Srettha Thavisin pledged to increase the share of renewable energy and support solar rooftop usage on top of increasing domestic electric vehicles at the UN Climate Ambition Summit held on September 20. A significant step towards energy independence is the Power Purchase Plan, which aims to add 5 gigawatts of renewable energy through a Feed-in Tariff program to double wind and solar capacity by 2023. The Embassy of Sweden, Business Sweden, and Sasin School of Management organized a conference on green transition, “Pioneer the Possible,” on November 9 to discuss the possibilities of collaboration towards green transition. Wisaruth Maethasith, Engineer of the Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency (DEDE) Ministry of Energy, Dr. Narin Phoawanich, Assistant Governor of The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT), Gianandrea Bruzzone, Country Managing Director of ABB Thailand, Dr. Pernilla Olausson, Protection Program Manager of Siemens Energy, and Lars Svensson, Founder of Wallander & Sson for MidSummer Solar Panel and Chief Executive of Sasin Sustainability & Entrepreneurship Center (SEC), joined in the panel discussion on “Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.” The discussion underscores the need for government promotion through incentives and programs to drive the concept of a sustainable society. Dr. Narin said that as part of the incentive package to promote hydrogen energy, companies engaged in hydrogen production are eligible for an eight-year corporate income tax exemption, encouraging sustained investment and innovation in the clean energy sector. Moreover, he discussed the Board of Investment (BOI) promotion plan to actively advocate for the adoption of clean energy practices to mitigate environmental impact. Their efforts focus on the promotion of hydrogen energy, encompassing hydrogen production from renewable sources, such as green ammonia. This includes the creation of the EGAT Energy Expertise Center Project in Nonthaburi to enhance knowledge of hydrogen energy storage systems. Dr. Narin also highlighted EGAT’s Carbon Neutrality Goals in Thailand, which aims for carbon neutrality by 2050 through the “Triple S” initiative, comprising Sources Transformation, Sink Co-creation, and Support Measures Mechanism. For Sources Transformation, EGAT aims to boost renewable energy, enhance the flexibility and efficiency of power plants, and bolster the overall share of renewable energy. This involves incorporating future technologies with clean and green energy resources for future electricity generation. Under Sink Co-creation, the strategy includes initiatives like carbon capture storage and reforestation to mitigate environmental impact. Simultaneously, the Support Measures Mechanism involves the implementation of smart energy efficiency measures to optimize energy consumption. Discussing the EU viewpoint, Dr. Olausson stated that Sweden intends to transition into a fully fossil-free electricity country. This plan involves sourcing 80 percent of electricity from direct wind and solar energy, 15 percent from a combined cycle hydrogen power plant, and 5 percent from battery storage. She presented a simulation of Germany’s 100 percent fossil-free country with wind parks, batteries, solar parks, electrolyzers, and hydrogen storage in its electricity infrastructure. An instance of the move towards a fossil-free nation is the project undertaken by HKW Stuttgart-Munster. Germany has invested in a hydrogen-ready gas turbine plant in collaboration with Siemens Energy to attain independence from coal through district heating. This initiative aligns with the climate objectives of the city of Stuttgart and Energie Baden-Württemberg AG (EnBW), aiming to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035. The transition from coal to gas is expected to yield a 60 percent reduction in emissions, and the adoption of green hydrogen fuel is projected to result in a complete 100 percent reduction. The discussion also revolved around creating energy-efficient buildings. The Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency in Thailand had introduced the Energy Building Code, setting requirements for energy conservation in large buildings. They are also developing a tariff tailored to effectively promote solar rooftop usage based on criteria such as building energy consumption. Bruzzone showcased The Unicorn Phayathai, a green building in Bangkok, with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification achieved through advanced technology. In addition, Bruzzone advocated for individual and corporate responsibility in promoting energy-efficient buildings. He suggested practical steps, such as controlling lighting and electric vehicle consumption, and encouraged leaders to take a proactive role in driving the dialogue. Wisaruth discussed the ambitious targets of the Energy Efficiency Promotion (EEP) initiative. He emphasized the need for infrastructure that supports businesses investing in energy efficiency, promoting, incentivizing, and pioneering efforts. He mentioned that with the imminent introduction of CBAM (Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanisms), Thailand, having various products on the list, should consider complying with these emerging measures. The conversation further delved into international cooperation, with participants proposing collaboration between Sweden and Thailand. The focus would be knowledge sharing, technology transfer, and cooperation in advancing sustainable practices.
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