Vietnam blows by Thailand in clean energy race

BANGKOK – Thailand is lagging Vietnam in the race to transition from fossil fuels to clean energy in the post-Covid-19 world, where climate change is taking center stage as the next looming global crisis, and countries and companies race to become carbon-neutral.     

And Thailand’s highly profitable energy companies, many of them nurtured to success via government-granted concessions and generous power purchase agreements, are at the forefront of the renewable energy (RE) blast off in neighboring Vietnam, potentially to Thailand’s long-term detriment if authorities don’t act fast.     

Thailand has been promoting RE as an alternative source for electricity production for more than a decade, with moderate success. RE as a percentage of the energy mix rose from 2.1% in 2010 to 10.1% in 2019, and is expected to reach at least 20% by 2028, under the current Power Development Plan (PDP), published in 2019. 

Thailand’s Energy Ministry is in the process of revising the PDP and is likely to announce more ambitious targets this November at the United Nations Climate Conference to be held in Stockholm, Sweden.