In the last few years, Thailand has continued to push a clean technology strategy throughout the country that focuses on renewable energy and energy conservation and efficiency. Between the increased demands for electricity around the country, the increasing price of oil, and the continual concerns of fossil fuel combustion, the country has been influenced to head in a new direction. The National Energy Strategic Plan emphasizes an eight percent increase in renewable energy by 2011 and further by the year 2020. Because of the abundance of certain sources, including sun, hydro, and biomass, Thailand could become a renewable energy powerhouse.
1) Solar Home System Project. The Solar Home System Project, also known as the Ua-thorn Electricity Program provides homeowners who live in isolated regions within the country solar modules that will enable them to collect as well as store electricity during the daylight hours. The 120 watt solar panel is able to power two fluorescent light bulbs and a 14 inch television. With it hard to attach these rural areas to an already over-populated grid, this project offers a great alternative to these individuals who cannot get and/or afford power any other way.
2) Thailand as a Main Player in Solar Cell Development. Thailand has been deeply investing in the solar renewable energy sector in an effort to meet the increasing power demands, which are rising by 13 percent per year. A solar cell project, established in 2005, looks toward the development of a new technology utilizing low-cost thin-film amorphous silicon solar cell panels. To continue reaching its goal of 5,000 megawatts in 2020, the government continues to encourage foreign solar cell manufacturers to produce solar cells in the country. Currently, Thailand is a leader in solar cell research advancements.
3) Renewable Energy Companies in Thailand. There are a number of renewable energy companies that make their home in Thailand. Green Energy Thailand is one of the primary companies throughout Asia for alternative energy solutions, including photovoltaic modules, air cooling systems, and large wind energy systems. Bangkok Solar Co., Ltd. is the first amorphous silicon photovoltaic modules manufacturing plant in Thailand. Megacell International Company Limited also has a manufacturing and exporting plant in Thailand for backup power systems, stationary batters, and batteries automotive starting.
4) Green Policies in Thailand take Off. Thailand is currently seen as a regional leader in the international search of clean, new, and sustainable energy sources. By 2010, Thailand was able to successfully address a number of requirements necessary to implement an efficient renewable energy program, including clear rules, standards, regulations, utilization of market forces and incentives, and energy prices reflecting production costs. Due to the increasing support of renewable energy, a number of projects have been implemented.
5) 2009 $644 Million Pledge to Renewable Energy Projects. In 2009, the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand made the plan to invest $644 million to develop a number of renewable energy facilities, including hydro, solar and wind, which would offer the combined capacity of 258 megawatts. This is said to assist with the goal of hitting 20 percent of energy created by renewable sources by the year 2022. Part of the investment will also go to the creation of the nuclear power plant, which is to be built by 2020.
6) Bangkok Bank Promoting Clean Energy. Under its Bualung Green Lending Program, Bangkok Bank let 70 million Baht to Deyiam Solar Power Ltd. to erect a solar power plant in Ubon Ratchathani. This plant will be responsible of generating one megawatt of renewable energy. This move reflects Bangkok Bank’s desire to lend financial support to businesses promoting clean energy and investing into alternative energy projects to reduce environmental concerns.
7) Recipient of the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Program. Rural villages are having difficulties surviving due to increased local ecosystem degradation, lack of economic opportunities, and unsustainable farming practices. As such the United Nations Development Program’s Global Environment Facility awarded its Small Grants Program to Thailand. Through this program, a wide variety of projects throughout the rural areas of the northern countryside are supported using organic farming, reforestation, and renewable energy. The main source of renewable energy used is biogas, especially through the use of pig manure. Biogas means that less money is spent on household cooking gas and less wood that needs to be collected, adding to deforestation.
8 ) Thailand Gets First Alternative Energy Biosphere. Word Green Energy, a Thailand-based manufacturing company partnered with the Global Environmental Energy Corp confirmed in January of 2011 that it is looking to deliver two biosphere alternative energy systems. The biosphere will convert waste into heat which creates enough steam power to drive generators.
9) Algae Biofuel Research and Development. The Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency Department in Thailand, in late 2010, started looking into the options to finance algae biofuels research and development. Through a partnership with the department, Kasetsart University and Burapha University and two Australian research institutes, the research will look into turning 28 strains of marine algae into a breeding technology that would allow for the creation of biofuels.
10) Possibility of Using Nuclear Power as Part of Plans for Alternative Energy. The government of Thailand, through looking for ways to limit reliance on imported fossil fuels, has started researching potential energy sources, including nuclear power. Thailand is looking to diversify their power to stop relying on fossil fuels. Currently there are between five and seven nuclear reactors that are in the developmental stage.
Article by Shawn Lesser, Co-founder & Managing Partner of Atlanta-based Watershed Capital Group – an investment bank assisting sustainable fund and companies raise capital, perform acquisitions, and in other strategic financial decisions. He is also a Co-founder of the GCCA Global Cleantech Cluster Association ”The Global Voice of Cleantech”. He writes for various cleantech publications and is known as the David Letterman of Cleantech for his “Top 10″ series. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org