US to help Mekong 'go clean'

US to help Mekong 'go clean'

Harris pledges $20m in additional funding

United States Vice President Kamala Harris has announced new US support for clean energy in the Mekong sub-region with additional funding of US$20 million (716 million baht).

Ms Harris made the announcement at the US ambassador's residence in Bangkok yesterday after a roundtable discussion with civil society leaders involved in climate action and environmental protection in the North of Thailand, as well as business leaders involved in the clean energy transition on advancing the US' role in Mekong sub-region.

"The US government plans to provide up to $20 million to the Japan-US-Mekong Power Partnership (JUMPP), on building a more competitive and connected energy market and infrastructure.

"This partnership with Japan aims to accelerate the clean energy transition and strengthen energy security in the Mekong sub-region,'' she told a press conference.

According to the US Embassy of Thailand, this announcement builds on previous pledges by Ms Harris to help to protect the Mekong sub-region environment and support the sustainable use of natural resources, which also involved the Mekong-Mississippi Sister Rivers Partnership and the Mekong NextGen Scientists program.

The vice president said the Administration intends to seek $20 million from Congress in additional JUMPP funding to support the Mekong sub-region's pursuit of energy security while encouraging greater regional power flows, clean energy integration, decarbonisation and resilience.

Since announcing JUMPP in August 2019 under an initial US investment of $29.5 million, the US and Japan have expanded partnerships with Mekong countries to build more competitive and connected energy markets and infrastructure.

JUMPP supports Mekong governments in achieving their clean energy transition and regional interconnection goals. Mekong countries are rapidly integrating renewable energy projects that require technical assistance for modernising regulations, market mechanisms, and for maintaining stability and reliability.

Expanding renewable energy generation capacity across the Mekong helps diversify the region's electricity mix and reduce reliance on hydropower capacity.

Ms Harris also held a meeting with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Saturday at Government House, praising Thailand for Apec's success.

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