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  • Writer's pictureManushya Foundation

Thailand's Rising Electricity Costs: Are We Truly Advancing the Just Energy Transition?


Did you know that Thai citizens have been recently grappling with significantly inflated 'electricity bills,' a cost that aligns differently from their actual electricity usage? It makes us wonder if the country is truly moving towards a Just Energy Transition? Let’s be honest: the high electricity bills don't match today's reality. Past solutions missed the mark! Thailand's Power Development Plans lacked public inclusion in their electricity production journey. We must drive change, by embracing the global shift to a #JustEnergyTransition and a low-carbon society (#NetZero). At Manushya, we want People and the Planet over Profit! Read on as we uncover the journey and the hurdles in achieving sustainable and clean energy solutions! ⤵️ Over time, Thai authorities have crafted various versions of the Power Development Plan (PDP) and other energy strategies. Unfortunately, none of these plans involved the public to discuss clean energy solutions or guided individuals to generate electricity. These strategies and policies mainly focus on the transition from fossil fuels to a low-carbon society (Net Zero) in accordance with international agreements, without public inclusion. In response, Energy Justice Thailand is advocating for fair electricity pricing and issued an Open Letter in July 2023 to the Government, titled 'Electricity Costs Must Be Fair'. The Open Letter presents five collaborative suggestions from the private sector, civil society, and the general public, as follows:


  1. Cease Signing Power Purchase Agreements (PPA): It's evident that our country already has a surplus of power plants. In reality, we shouldn't be signing new contracts for additional power plants. Otherwise, this could lead to redundant power plants that increase electricity costs without yielding significant benefits. Therefore, giving utmost importance to the proposal of halting the signing of power purchase agreements is crucial.

  2. Accelerate Net-metering Policy: Facilitate the adoption of net-metering for solar energy and other renewable sources, empowering citizens to produce their energy and reduce the strain on transmission lines. Eventually, this will have a positive overall impact, saving costs as we won't need to purchase expensive electricity. Different energy sources have distinct costs, so the more we use, the higher the expense.

  3. Public Engagement: When drafting the Power Development Plan (PDP), Ensure public awareness and solicitation of feedback. It's important to listen to citizens' opinions and take them into consideration before finalizing the plans. People want to be part of the planning process, not just presented with finished plans. The previous plans involved only an individual from the public sector therefore the role was minimized, and most of the plan's committees were the representatives from the private sector including various power plants. Hence, ethical governance is crucial to ensure transparency and prevent overlapping benefits.

  4. Developing a Fair Competitive Electricity Market: Thailand should avoid having a 'Single Buyer' system, where one entity purchases all electricity produced. Unlike this, other countries allow private entities to purchase electricity by paying a wheeling charge for transmission. Implementing such a system would create a 'Free Electricity Market', enabling private entities to sell electricity among themselves.

  5. Utilizing Natural Gas Cost Advantage: Incorporate the cost of natural gas from more affordable sources, such as gas from Thai Gulf and Myanmar, into the electricity production cost. As this is a public service, prioritize the use of cheaper sources like regasified liquefied natural gas (LNG) based on global market prices. Use this cost for the petrochemical and other industrial sectors, organizations, and various networks.


As outlined by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), electricity production must achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040 to facilitate the country's broader net-zero goal by 2050. As a reminder, in November 2021, during COP26, Thailand made the commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and net zero greenhouse gas emission by 2065. Consequently, a transformation of the electricity sector within a decade is imperative.Notably, a key milestone is the need to phase out fossil fuel-based electricity generation to zero before the 2040 target. This step is essential to pave the way for renewable energy sources by 2040 in Thailand.


This energy transition requires the modernization of transmission and distribution systems to ensure power system stability, accommodating the growing use of renewables. This underscores the significance of market development, stimulating investment, and facilitating the net-metering system for renewables. This strengthens citizens to actively engage in energy production, reducing dependency on large-scale power plants. Should all aspects align as intended, Thailand could progress towards a net-zero electricity system by 2050. This comprehensive strategy underscores the nation's commitment to sustainable energy practices and its role in addressing climate change.



References:

1. SDG Move, SDG Insights | When Electricity Costs Differ from Electricity Fire: Transitioning through Sustainable Energy is Crucial for the Future, (28 August 2023), available at: https://www.sdgmove.com/2023/08/26/sdg-insights-fair-energy-transition-for-thailand/ 2. Energy Justice Thailand, Open Letter from the private sector, civil society and citizen to the Thai Government: ‘5 Proposals on Energy Policy for Fair Electricity Bills’, (5 July 2023), available at: https://drive.google.com/file/d/15qGWCJRH8G7HDZhgZbY1LSKN8aJvvgSg/view

#WeAreManushyan ♾️ Equal Human Beings


#ElectricityCostsMustBeFair #FairElectricityBills #ElectricityBills #ThaiElectricity #ค่าไฟต้องแฟร์ #ค่าไฟแพง #WeAreManushyan #ClimateAccountabilityandClimateJustice #RenewableEnergy #UNFCCC #NetZero #NetZero2050 #SustainableFuture ☘️ While you’re here, learn more about our work on Climate Justice and how we advocate for a Just Transition:

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