Greenpeace: RE sector to build massive workforce in Thailand

More than 170,000 green jobs by 2050 with 100% Renewable Energy

Press release - June 12, 2018
Phuket, 12 June 2018--A new report released today revealed that a shift to 100% renewable energy will generate more than 170,000 jobs in the country in the next three decades. The report[1], the first of its kind to quantify renewable energy job creation in Thailand and the Mekong Region, shows how, if properly supported, the RE sector can be a major growth driver for employment and the Thai economy.

The report was launched in Phuket during the visit of the Greenpeace flagship, the Rainbow Warrior, which is in the country for its “Rainbow Warrior Ship Tour 2018: 100% Renewable Energy for All” tour. The ship is in the province to show how a transition to renewable energy not only helps avoid the most disastrous impacts of climate change, but also benefits the economy by providing more jobs and income, and fostering innovation, knowledge and skills.

“Thailand is known for its leadership in the renewable energy sector in Southeast Asia,” said economist Decharut Sukkamneod,a lecturer at Kasetsart University and the lead author of the report. “The study represents how, with renewable energy, Thailand can achieve sustainable development goals – in particular on promoting sustained and inclusive economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all.”

The direct employment rate of Thailand’s renewable energy industry in 2016 was approximately 17,758 jobs, 80% of which was employed in the biomass industry (14,323 jobs), followed by solar energy industry (2,588 jobs), biogas (757 jobs) and lastly, wind energy (90 jobs). This is in stark contrast to the coal energy industry’s projected direct employment generation of only 1,950 jobs – even if it were to produce the same amount of electricity as the combined output of the entire renewable energy sector. The study also projected that employment in the RE sector will rise to more than 27,000 jobs by 2019 if all the RE projects currently in the pipeline were approved. This figure is expected to rise more than six-fold to 172,164 jobs in 2050 under a 100% RE scenario.[2]

The study team, composed of renewable energy experts from universities and institutions across country [3] looked at solar, wind, modern biomass, and biogas renewable energy projects across Thailand. The study on direct employment focused on three phases: (a) construction (b) operation and maintenance and (c) feedstock preparation. Projections on direct employment are based on four scenarios of electricity generation: (a) existing renewable energy projects in 2016, (b) renewable energy projects that are already committed by 2019, (c) 100% RE in Thailand by 2050, and (d) 100% RE in the lower Mekong region (Lao PDR, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam) by 2050.[4]

“The study shows that renewable energy is a win-win solution, while fossil fuel, particularly coal power, is a losing proposition,” said Chariya Senpong, Climate and Energy Campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia. “It also shows the importance of incorporating employment projections into energy planning processes, and in particular in the Power Development Plan, in order to better guide policy making. Additionally, the government needs to ensure that strong policies are in place to reinforce human resources and trainings, research and development, as well as occupational health and safety to support a booming renewable energy sector and a just and sustainable energy transition.”

“It’s clear that a shift to renewable energy brings multiple benefits at both local and national levels: it is good for the environment and good for business,” said Chariya. “Investing in and facilitating different scales of renewable energy projects can generate thousands of decent jobs in Thailand, make electricity more economical for consumers while protecting the environment, and increasing GDP. It also poses fewer risks for Thailand’s future, as opposed to investing in coal.”


Notes to editors:

[1] Report can be downloaded at

[2] The study has also explored the indirect employment in the manufacture of solar photovoltaic modules, solar rooftops, feedstock and steam boiler production for modern biomass, solar PV recycling infrastructure and smart grid systems. These added up to several thousand jobs.

[3] The study was conducted by Decharut Sukkumnoed (Faculty of Economics, Kasetsart University), Chalie Charoenlarpnopparut (Thammasart University) , Somnuck Jongmeewasin (International College, Silpakorn University), Asst. Prof. Dr.Usa Onthong (Research Centre for Energy and Environment, Thaksin University), Somchet Chaiyalap (Sustainable Energy Research Centre for Communities, Kalasin Province), Luepong Luenam(Faculty of Agricultural Technology, King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Ladkrabang), Asst. Prof Chedsada Mingchai(Uttaradit Rajabhat University), Suphakit Nantavorakarn and Titiwetaya Yaikratok (the Healthy Public Policy Foundation)





Somrudee Panasudtha, Media Campaigner, Greenpeace Southest Asia

Tel.: 081 929 5747 Email: