Tag: thai

19
Jun

Thai Solar Pioneer, Inspiring Women Across Thailand

Inspiring story about a local Thai business woman and entrepreneur

Well known local Thai business woman and entrepreneur, Wandee Khunchornyakong Juljarern, has been interested in the solar industry for more than a decade. With experience in off grid installations, she continued to get rejected from banks and investors to fund her Solar Farm initiative. The excuses ranged from her age, to lack of experience in ‘commercial solar projects’.

“The more people say, ‘You should not try it, you should not take a risk,’ the more I want to do it,” Wandee said in an interview. Her goal was to prove Thailand could use solar energy, so that “we can change the form of energy production, instead of relying on only conventional means”.

Finally the Thai government announced permits for solar power plants that could feed into the grid,  and Wandee Khunchornyakong Juljarern was the first in line.

Kasikornbank, the 10th Bank she visited for assistance, whose president was also an engineer, showed interest in her initiative, and agreed to fund only 60% of her $20 million request. For the remaining 40%, she sold some of her family land she had inherited…

“My mum said, ‘Do what pleases you.’ My husband said, ‘Let me think for three days’,” she recalled. Her response was that she would sell it anyway, she said, roaring with laughter.

Wandee Khunchornyakong Juljarern’s first solar farm opened in April 2010 in Korat, in the northeast of Thailand.

4 years later, Wandee’s Solar Power Company Group (SPCG) had 36 solar PV plants with a capacity of 250 megawatts.

SPCG is now one of Thailand’s largest solar companies. Between 2013 and 2016, its revenues more than doubled.

As chairman and CEO of the listed company, Wandee has been recognized by the United Nations for her commitment to clean energy, and in 2015 Forbes dubbed her one of Asia’s most powerful women.

“We are helping the world by reducing CO2 (emissions) by almost 200,000 tonnes equivalent per year,” said Wandee. This amounts to taking more than 40,000 cars off the road, according to statistics provided by the World Bank.

Solar Farms and Solar rooftops, Thailand Image supplied by SPCG Thailand

Solar Farms and Solar rooftops, Thailand
Image supplied by SPCG Thailand

Moving the Solar streak forward

Wandee is planning to venture into Myanmar, where millions of people lack access to electricity, but realises the difficulty of implementation in a nation without national policy on renewable energy.

Talking of the Success in Thailand…

“I would call Korat almost every hour asking, ‘What’s happening? You have enough sun? How many kilowatt hours?’” she said, chuckling in the modern building now housing the company in a fashionable part of Bangkok, with soothing green walls and images of a lush forest on the glass doors and walls.

Luckily, the project outperformed expectations and within three months, she was looking for more investors.

The International Finance Corporation, the World Bank’s private-sector division, and the multilateral Clean Technology Fund gave early financial backing.

Wandee, who humbly still lives in her old house, wants to continue working and pursuing her Solar dreams, despite her age.

“Women… have to have confidence in (themselves),” she said.

Original reporting by Thin Lei Win, and editing by Megan Rowling. Credit for the content of this article goes to the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, corruption and climate change. Visit this link for more.

20
Apr

Thai Energy Companies Expand Across Southeast Asia

Thailand’s increase in Energy Usage

Through the technology practices taking place inside individual homes in Southeast Asia, startups including Solar and Wind companies, are expanding dramatically.

For twenty years, the Thai government have implemented renewable energy policies in support of this green tech, of which the country is now reaping the benefits. Oil and Gas Companies are also now profiting after recovering from a three-year slump, increasing electricity demand due to economic growth, and renewable technologies that have finally become competitive against fossil fuels.

Long-standing reform policies have turned Thailand’s state energy company PTT into a successful international oil and gas producer, they have encouraged the development of power producers such as Electricity Generating, and fostered the emergence of renewable energy start-up companies such as Energy Absolute.

“The power businesses in Thailand have developed expertise in this sector, and are now well placed to support energy development across the region,” said Robert Grant, Asia Pacific head at Canadian-listed SNC-Lavalin, a company focused on energy, infrastructure and mining.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members have a combined population of more than 600 million people, with an approximate collective GDP of $3 trillion.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), ASEAN’s energy use rose by 60 % in the last 15 years, which portrays that the region’s demand could grow another 66% by the year 2040.

“You can already see increased activity by Thai investors in the ASEAN region,” Grant said.

The expansion has been reflected in the local stock exchange, with shares of energy companies growing nearly 75% since the start of 2016, against a broader market gain of less than half that.

It’s also sparked a mass broadcast of listings, with Thai power companies having raised more than $2 billion from initial public offerings (IPOs) in 2016 and 2017.

An ‘Ecosystem for Growth’ 

Government policy “created an ecosystem for growth for Thai energy companies,” said Maria Lapiz, head of institutional research at Maybank Kim Eng Securities, with the first reforms coming in the 1990s.

That was the time when the Thai government began allowing small power generators (1-90 megawatts) to sell their power back to the national grid. Thailand was also an earlier adopter of natural gas, which now generates about 60% of the country’s electricity.

‘In 2012, Thailand was one of Asia’s first countries to introduce “feed-in” tariffs to give solar developers additional payments on top of normal prices when selling electricity to utilities, channeling investment into the sector.’

Similar tariffs have been applied to other renewable power sources, including wind, small-scale hydro, biomass and biogas.

The privatization of PTT was another big boost to the energy sector. “PTT was privatized in 2001, which helped drive growth in the energy sector from E&P to refiners and helped in the development of the Thai capital market,” said Lapiz.

According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), Thailand is the first Southeast Asian country to be one of the top 15 solar power generators, in the world.

Early Birds in the Renewable Sector

“Thailand started development in renewable power much earlier than regional peers,” said Thidasiri Srisamith, Chief Investment Officer of Kasikorn Asset Management.

Because of the early start and positive relationships with neighbouring countries, Thailand is “a leader in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, and will continue to expand into these countries,” she said.

Thailand’s largest solar company Superblock, has plans to grow, with a $1.8 billion  wind farm investment in Vietnam.

Thailand’s biggest wind power generator, Wind Energy Holdings, plans to start investing in solar, hydro and biomass to back up its capacity, not just in Thailand, but also in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Australia.

“Going forward, Thai power company growth will depend on the ability to secure capacity and have a steady stream of projects … which (are) increasingly coming from overseas,” said Kasikorn’s Thidasiri.

06
Dec

Thailand’s Enserv, KEPID join hands in 1 GW of PV, storage

Enserv Group Co, a Thai renewable energy provider and Korea Electric Power Industrial Development Co (KEPID) intend to install over 1 GW of solar and energy storage facilities in Thailand in a THB-40-billion project.

enserv group solar installation

Photo courtesy of Enserv Group

The Bangkok Post has reported that these two companies have signed a memorandum of understanding, quoting Enserv’s CEO Thanachat Pochana. He said that the goal of the project is to install renewable energy and storage capacity that will make Thailand’s power grid more sustainable.

Enserv, which is prominent in the solar power sector, has more than 258 MW of photovoltaic parks in Thailand, which operate under power purchase agreements (PPAs) with the Thai Provincial Electricity Authority. The company is also engaged in research and development in the energy storage segment, biofuel production and energy trading innovation.

KEPID focuses on reading and recording electricity meters, and delivering electricity bills in South Korea. The company also operates and maintains coal fueled power plants, operates flue gas desulfurization systems and recycles fly ash, purchases and compensates plant sites, and constructs, runs, and leases multi-purpose buildings.

Read more about the Thai renewable energy  plan and other interesting facts about Solar Power in Thailand on our website.