Plan aims for 50% renewable by 2050

Plan aims for 50% renewable by 2050

The government looks set to create a new national power development plan to increase the proportion of renewable energy used to generate electricity to 50% of all energy types by 2050.

Speaking at a seminar entitled "Go Green 2022", Energy Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow said the new national power development plan follows the prime minister's announcement at the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow that Thailand wants to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2065 as part of the country's long-term ambition on climate action.

According to Mr Supattanapong, Thailand needs concrete action to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in various sectors including transport, energy, industry and households.

Thailand produces about 250 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year, 100 million tonnes of which stem from electricity generation.

"The government is creating a new power development plan to increase the proportion of renewable energy used to produce electricity to reach 50% in 2050, up from 20% in 2021," he said.

"If Thailand can meet this goal, gas emissions from electricity generation will drop to around 35 million tonnes in 2043."

Mr Supattanapong said the government also plans to increase power purchases from hydropower plants in Laos to 10,500 megawatts, up from 9,000MW at present.

Developers and operators of four hydroelectric power plants in Laos are scheduled to sign power purchase agreements with energy policymakers in Laos and Thailand by May under a plan to promote more renewable energy.

In addition, he said, the government wants to promote power generation from solar cells and wind energy for both the private sector and households.

In the transport sector, which produces 80 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, the government aims to reduce half of greenhouse gas emissions in the sector by 2050.

Mr Supattanapong said the production of electric vehicles (EVs) would account for 30% of domestic output or 700,000 units a year in 2030.

The government expects batteries for EVs will be manufactured in Thailand within three years, while charging stations should be sufficient to support EV users during this period, he said.

"The government already implemented policies to draw EV investment and offered incentives to attract users," said Mr Supattanapong.

"The investment stimulus policy will enable Thailand to seek new foreign investment and expertise to achieve regional leadership in EV production. All vehicles sold domestically by 2035 will be 'zero-emission'."

In addition, he said the government asked for cooperation from the industrial sector and households, which produce 50-60 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, to reduce emissions.

Without measures to curb emissions, the tally from the industrial sector and households would reach 90 million tonnes a year by 2050, said Mr Supattanapong

He said the government needs to promote the development of more forests and investment in high technology such as digital and smart electronics to promote the purchase of carbon credits.

Prakob Phiencharoen, head of the Corporate and Investment Banking Group at Bank of Ayudhya (Krungsri), said during the same seminar in the future customers seeking bank loans should come up with targets to achieve sustainability.

In the future, banks may not only take into account a customer's ability to repay a loan, but also the applicant's sustainability target when deciding loan approval, he said.

Mr Prakob's group aims to increase its loan portfolio of environment, social and governance (ESG) to 50-100 billion baht by 2030.

He said ESG finance in the global market has expanded and is estimated to have reached US$1.38 trillion.

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