Greenpeace: Thailand’s energy revolution can exclude fossil fuels

Press release - November 9, 2006
A new Greenpeace report released today says Thailand’s growing energy needs could be better served by a decentralized system coupled with greater emphasis on energy efficiency and renewable energy. The report Decentralizing Thai Power: Towards a Sustainable Energy System asserts that with renewables and energy efficiency added to present energy capacity, Thailand can generate 39,797 megawatts by the year 2016, in contrast to the bloated, fossil fuel-intensive plan by the Electrcity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT).

It also calls for open processes and public participation in the design of Thailand’s new Power Development Plan (PDP), and is released to coincide with the international climate conference in Nairobi where governments currently debate measures to mitigate and adapt to intensifying impacts of climate change. One of the most heated topics at the international climate conference is the drastic reduction of fossil fuels from the global energy mix to cut greenhouse gas emissions, the primary cause of climate change.

 

”Climate change puts Thailand at the energy crossroad. Should we stick with an ineffecient energy system reliant on coal and gas, or move forward to cleaner and cheaper renewable energy? The new government is keen on upgrading renewable energy regulations and facilitate efficiency measures, but it remains to be seen whether our leaders have the political will to phase out fossil fuels and avert the impacts of climate change in the country,” said Tara Buakamsri of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

The report examines the existing power supply infrastructure, opportunities for cleaner and economically superior options, and critically discusses planning and governance processes and practices that encourage dirty energy and discourage clean energy. The report, however, cites considerable obstacles to the implementation of clean energy in the country. Challenges include an opaque power development planning process, conflict of interest arising from EGAT’s control of both transmission and generation, and a distorted regulatory regime that encourages capacity expansion and over-reliance on price- volatile fossil fuels at the expense of rewarding energy efficient performance

”Thailand’s potential for meeting its future growth in energy demand through a decentralized energy mix of energy efficiency and renewable energy is large enough to negate the need for new centralized coal and gas generation capacity as well as hydropower imports specified in the government’s PDP,” said Chris Greacen of Palang Thai, a Bangkok-based energy think-tank which authored the report for Greenpeace. “We strongly encourage the government to change the PDP process to one that is based on true least-cost planning.”

“Our proposal will help Thailand fully utilize its enormous renewable energy potential. We believe that decentralization of country's power sector will provide Thai people with immediate, long-term, profitable and measurable benefits, and real energy security. In addition, the country can benefit from lesser health and environmental problems associated with coal plants, more jobs and significant contribution to the global fight against climate change,” Tara added.

Greenpeace is an independent, campaigning organisation, which uses non-violent, creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems, and to force the solutions, which are essential to a green and peaceful future.

Other contacts: Chris Greacen, Palang Thai,