Renewable Energy No More?
The Minister of Energy announced recently that the Thai government will no longer be purchasing electricity from renewable power projects for the next five years to come. The reason behind this is because such projects have caused retail electricity tariffs to increase by 20-25 satangs per unit, and the electricity system apparently has enough installed capacity for now.
If this policy was to be implemented, it will rewind a decade of success that Thailand has achieved on the path toward sustainable energy creation.
Over these past 10 years, Thailand became the leader in Southeast Asia of the renewable energy sector.
As the leader, we produced more clean energy, contributing to reduced greenhouse gas emissions, creating new jobs, utilising local resources, and spurring invaluable know-how and skills for the Thai energy industry.
Renewable energy is also beneficial to the entire electricity system in the country. The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) has showed how solar power plants have contributed to system peak load reduction, equivalent to around 1 gigawatt of power. This one gigawatt is about the size of a nuclear power plant, or three coal-fired power plants that we have not had to build because of this renewable energy option.
The subsidy for renewables in the past has benefited all Thai people. The problem is that these benefits have not been addressed or quantified by the policymakers. Therefore the argument that renewables cause rate increases is an argument that doesn’t tell the comeplete story.
“By design, the renewable energy subsidy should eventually be cancelled once it becomes competitive with conventional electricity sources. Indeed, we are at a point now where renewable power projects in Thailand may not need a subsidy like they did before.”
“Like eggs that are ready to be hatched, Thailand’s renewable power industry has incubated over the past decade. Just about when the eggs are ready to be hatched, the government should not freeze them. A tangible and fair policy would be to open electricity generation to competition by setting up a bidding process that allows renewable power projects to demonstrate their competitiveness with fossil-fuel based power plants.”
The original article and opinion piece was supplied by the Bangkok Post. It was written by an independent Energy Consultant based in California, USA, named Sopitsuda Tongsopit, PHD.
Let us know how you feel about this and whether or not you’d be interested in going off-grid, or simply want to have the option to generate your own renewable energy for your home. Eyekandi-Solar is here to assist you!