Clean energy now part of Thailand’s national agenda, says energy minister
The Thai government has made clean energy part of its National Energy Plan, Energy Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow announced on Monday.
He was speaking at the “New National Energy Plan for Sustainability” seminar hosted at Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok Hotel by Thansettakij.
The minister said clean, renewable energy was now a necessity, especially in the battle against greenhouse gas emissions.
The manufacturing industry alone emits some 300 million tonnes of greenhouse gases yearly, he pointed out.
“Hence, cutting emissions to zero by 2065 is an important mission, as is setting up a new clean energy ecosystem such as reducing the use of fossil fuel, promoting the use of electric vehicles [EVs] and using clean fuel to produce electricity,” he said.
The minister said that using clean fuel to produce electricity will also help cut down on energy imports from neighbouring countries.
One step towards achieving this, he said, would be negotiating a 10-year deal with Cambodia over the use of overlapping natural gas sources.
"Even though the negotiation will progress slowly, we believe it will benefit both countries in the future," he said.
As for promoting the use of EVs, he said up to 18,000 electric vehicles have already been booked thanks to the incentives offered.
He also expects more EV manufacturers and charging station operators to set up operations in Thailand, adding that both the public and private sectors are ready to invest in these businesses.
“We can confirm that EVs will be produced in Thailand definitely,” he said, adding that the government will also develop technology to help reduce the cost of EV batteries in the future. The authorities are currently studying the use of thermal energy, hydrogen fuel, ammonia as well as carbon capture and storage, he said.
Supattanapong added that many agencies, especially government agencies, are trying to reduce the use of energy as much as possible.
Meanwhile, the ministry’s permanent secretary Kulit Sombatsri said 64 per cent of Thailand's greenhouse gases come from the energy and transport sectors that use fossil fuels.
He reckons it will take up to 30 years to boost the use of renewable energy in producing power if no strong measures are taken immediately. Currently, only 11 per cent of electricity is produced using renewable fuel.
“Hence, we have to accelerate the preparation of measures to achieve carbon neutrality by 2065,” he said.
Kulit said oil and gas will be necessary for the next 10 years, but electricity and hydrogen will also play an important role in energy consumption. He added that demand for electricity will surge in line with EV trends.