Thailand could lead the world in renewable energy: 35% by 2020

Press release - 22 August, 2002

Greenpeace launches Stop Global Warming balloon over the Mae Moh coal plant in Lampang, Thailand on the 21st August 2002

"The Thai energy development projections strongly demonstrate that a 10% global renewable energy target by 2010, as proposed by Greenpeace, could easily be achieved if world governments meeting at the Earth Summit in Johannesburg next week commit themselves to switching to a clean sustainable energy path," said

Athena Ballesteros, Greenpeace Southeast Asia campaigns manager.

"It's only three days until government officials from around the world meet for the Earth Summit to discuss sustainable development. Thailand, as a developing nation, can switch to a clean, sustainable energy path in less than 20 years and still meet its growing energy needs."

The report "Positive Energy Choices" explains how by 2020, over one third of Thailand's electricity demand could be met from renewable sources. Working on a minimum 35% renewables mix, a quarter (25%) of the country's electricity could be derived from biomass, 5% from hydro and 2.5% from solar, with the remaining 2.5% divided between geothermal and wind. Between 2010 and 2015, renewable energy will become as cheap as conventional energy sources, possibly even cheaper. Under this scenario, greenhouse gas emissions would stay at roughly the same level.

"Governments in Johannesburg must embrace the opportunity of the Earth Summit to support sustainable energy in developing nations. The cost of producing electricity from greenhouse intensive sources like coal will continue to increase, while the cost of clean, renewable energy will continue to fall," said Ballesteros.

Greenpeace today called on the Thai Electricity Generating Authority to embrace renewable energy and immediately overturn existing approvals to build new fossil fuel power stations, which cause dangerous climate change.

"We commissioned this report to add weight to the increasing public clamour in Thailand for clean, sustainable energy," said Sven Teske, Greenpeace energy campaigner. "Residents in the Thai province of Prachuab Khiri Khan have been campaigning against the proposed coal fired power stations for more than eight years. This shows that it is possible to meet the growing energy needs of this country while protecting the climate from dangerous greenhouse gas emissions that come from fossil fuels."

At the Earth Summit, Greenpeace will lobby governments from around the world to replace their inaction with strong commitment to provide affordable renewable energy to the two billion people worldwide who live without electricity, to phase out all subsidies to fossil and nuclear fuels, and to ensure that 10% of global energy is

provided by renewable resources by 2010. Greenpeace is also seeking a commitment that international financial institutions be required to move 20% of their energy investments to clean, renewable energy.

"Even in developing countries, where energy demand is fastest growing, renewable clean energy is able to meet electricity needs," said Ballesteros. "Rich northern countries must stop pushing the developing world to depend on fossil fuels. Climate change is the biggest environmental threat facing the planet and developing countries like Thailand are bearing the brunt of its effects on agriculture, livelihoods and major ecosystems.

The report "Positive Energy Choices" is part of the Greenpeace Choose Positive Energy tour of South East Asia with the ship MV Arctic Sunrise. Throughout the tour, the ship's crew, the staff from the Greenpeace office of Southeast Asia and other Greenpeace offices have worked with local communities in Thailand and the Philippines to fight the development of dirty, polluting energy and promote clean renewable energy.

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