New laws are needed to curb carbon dioxide emissions in order to boost government efforts to promote clean energy, says the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).
Decades-long campaigns to encourage businesses to voluntarily use fewer fossil fuels are inadequate if Thailand wants to achieve its goal of significantly cutting greenhouse gases, said Natee Sithiprasasana, vice-chairman of the FTI's Renewable Energy Industry Club.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha vowed last year during the 26th UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow that Thailand would be more serious in addressing climate change and strive to reach carbon neutrality, a balance between carbon dioxide emissions and absorption, by 2050, along with a net-zero target by 2065.
Authorities must ensure there is enough clean power supply for foreign firms, especially Japanese automakers, who want fuel to be entirely from renewable energy sources in order to reach carbon neutrality and net-zero goals sooner than the Thai government's time frames, said Mr Natee.
He said many firms are preparing a "plan B" to relocate their production facilities to countries such as Vietnam and Indonesia if Thailand does not have enough clean power to meet their demands.
"We need to take action now to quickly improve our power supply system," Mr Natee told a seminar yesterday organised by the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council.
Thailand's current laws mainly promote energy supplies through the state grid under the enhanced single buyer (ESB) model.
ESB allows the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) to be the single buyer that sells electricity to the public.
This does not facilitate power trade among companies that want to use more renewable energy.
If power companies want to sell electricity produced by renewable resources, they are required to sell it to Egat and state power distribution agencies, which then distribute electricity through their grids to companies and households.
Power companies are allowed to directly sell electricity to the industrial sector under private power purchase agreements, but only fossil fuel-based electricity is traded.
Some manufacturers have increased clean power usage by installing rooftop solar panels at their factories, although such initiatives do not produce enough electricity to fully power their machines.