Thailand signs GMS power project accord with China
published : 12 Oct 2013 at 00:00
newspaper section: Business
writer: Yuthana Praiwan
Thailand and China will join hands in pursuing energy projects in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) countries to enhance energy security in the region, says Energy Minister Pongsak Raktapongpaisal.
Under a memorandum of understanding (MoU), Thailand's Energy Ministry and China's National Energy Administration will jointly study and develop fossil and renewable energy projects across the GMS.
Five MoUs including the energy pact will be signed during Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's official two-day visit to Thailand.
"Energy demand in the GMS countries has risen sharply thanks to growing tourism and investment. This development will affect energy security in the region over the next several years," said Mr Pongsak.
The two countries have agreed to cooperate on technology development in the areas of oil and gas, power grids, energy conservation and energy efficiency.
Thailand expressed interest in exchanging the technology and human resource management of nuclear power plants, said Mr Pongsak.
He said after the MoU is signed, the two parties will set up a joint working group to identify potential projects for cooperation.
In June, the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) signed an MoU to buy 3,000 megawatts of electricity from China Southern Power Grid Co (CSG). The pact was developed from the one signed in 1998 for Thailand to buy 3,000 MW.
Egat and CSG already set up a committee to discuss issues of the power purchase including the cost and transmission line linking Yunnan province in southwestern China via Laos to Thailand.
Egat earlier negotiated potential power purchases from several companies in China including China Resources Power but failed to agree on pricing.
Because Thailand's policy on building new power plants remains unclear, it wants to buy power from China to contribute to price and supply stability, said Mr Pongsak.
The Energy Ministry also signed an agreement with the Education Ministry to revamp science curriculum and secondary school and university textbooks by adding more essential content about energy.
"Tentatively, the new textbooks and training courses will focus more on energy saving, efficient consumption, alternative energy, clean technology, greenhouse gases and energy diversification," said Mr Pongsak.
"We want our next generation to learn how important energy is for life, as energy demand in Asean will grow quickly, causing carbon dioxide emissions to double and having a greater effect on climate change."
For many decades, Thailand has struggled to diversify to clean coal and nuclear energies in order to cut greenhouse gas emissions.