Government issues renewables energy plan

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A flurry of excitement about wind power has hit Thailand. While immediate prospects are not great, a 15-year government energy plan to be published this month is expected to focus on replacing some fossil fuel use with renewables. Energy secretary Cherdpong Siriwit says the plan will warn that the country must use less oil and more indigenous sources of energy. In particular, Siriwit notes, it will propose measures for promoting wind, solar and biofuels. To date, Thailand's use of renewables has been limited, with the largest installation being a single 150 kW wind turbine. The latest interest in wind follows a preliminary study by the state Utility Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT), which showed significant wind potential in the south, notably the provinces of Phuket, Songkhla, and Pattani. EGAT has also announced it will develop a wind plant, near Phromthep on Phuket island, with government backing. Furthermore, according to Greenpeace, which has called on the Thai energy ministry to commit to an immediate target of 10% renewable energy rising to 20% by 2020, "several" international wind companies have been in Thailand to assess business opportunities. Indeed, talks have taken place between GE Wind and the Thai government, with the Bangkok Post reporting that Steve Fludder, at the time Asia-Pacific general manager for the US company, had found the government's support for renewable energy to be encouraging. GE Wind's Mary McCann, however, notes the company has no immediate plans for wind development in the country.

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