Blessing Rain Down for a Solar Future

Feature story - May 2, 2002
Directors of 26 Greenpeace offices from around the world gathered today in the village of Ban Krut, Thailand, and received the blessing of Buddhist monks after personally handing over two working systems of solar panel array to the local community. (1)

Greenpeace earlier installed the solar panels at the Thong Chai Thammachak temple in Ban Krut and at the Ban Nong Pu Lok school in Bo Nok to show the Thai government that the local community is serious in its desire for renewable energy alternatives for the country instead of the proposed coal fired power stations.

For the past 8 years, people of Ban Krut and Bo Nok in the province of Prachuap Khiri Khan have opposed plans by US energy company Edison and Thai company, Gulf Power to build two coal fired power stations in the region. A consortium of US, Japanese, Hong Kong and Thai companies funds the proposed plants. (2)

"Thailand does need energy - energy from the sun, wind and the ocean. But not from dirty, old fashioned technology dumped on them by big international companies like Edison," said Greenpeace International's executive director Gerd Leipold. "If we are to prevent dangerous climate change we need a massive global boost in these renewable technologies."

"Later this year, governments from around the world will meet at the Johannesburg Earth Summit. Two billion people globally live without access to electricity. Greenpeace is asking governments at the Earth Summit to kick start the renewables age by committing to massive investments in safe, clean power to these people without harming the climate."

In January when the Prime Minister of Thailand visited the site of the proposed coal-fired power plant in the province of Prachuap Khiri Khan, 20,000 protestors met him. He is expected to announce a decision on whether or not to cancel the plants in the very near future.

"The Thai government is being pressured by rich multinational banks and companies that are backing the power station proposal," said John Passacantando, Executive Director of Greenpeace USA. "It's time that the wishes of the Thai people were heard. They don't want dirty energy exports from companies like Edison from the US which dump unwanted technology on poorer communities in the South."

Details of the many potential environmental, social and climate impacts of the project can be found in the Greenpeace report "Edison Out: The Struggle to Stop Coal Fired Power Plants in Bo Nok and Ban Krut, Thailand"

More informations:

Contact GPI Executive Director Gerd Leipold

at +661-9311962

Athena Ronquillo, GPSEA Campaigns Manager

at +63917-8131562

media officers Louise Fraser

at +61 409 933 568

Ittirit Prakhamthong

at +6619879950.

Website: www.greenpeace.org

Editors Notes:

(1) The Executive Directors from the following Greenpeace offices participated in the solidarity event: Argentina, Australia-Pacific, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Czechia, France, Germany, Greece, India, Japan, Luxembourg, Mediterranean, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nordic, Russia. Southeast Asia, Spain, Switzerland, UK and USA.

(2) Bo Nok is owned by Gulf Electric of Thailand and Edison Mission Energy of the USA. Ban Krut belongs to Union Power Development Co., Ltd., which is shared by Hong Kong Electric, and Japanese companies Tomen Corporation, Toyota Tsusho, Shubu Electric.

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