Thailand plunges 11 ranks to 42nd in this year’s CCPI. This drops it from a medium to a low performer. While Thailand maintains its medium rating in the Energy Use category, it receives a low for GHG Emissions, Renewable Energy, and Climate Policy.
Climate Change Act is being revised
Thailand has set a clear goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2065, and it revised its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) and Long-Term Strategies to align with this target. The NDC target was raised from 20% to 30% by 2030. The National Energy Plan has also been developed to support the net-zero pathways and decarbonisation of the energy sector. The country’s Climate Change Act is being revised and is expected to launch in 2023.
The CCPI experts welcome this step but note that Thailand still has a long way to go to improve its climate performance. While Thailand rates a medium in the GHG per capita-current level indicator, its 2030 emissions target exceeds what is needed for Thailand to be aligned with a Paris-compatible pathway. Thailand only slightly reduced its GHG emissions (tCO2eq/capita), and thus, other countries surpassed it in the rankings.
Greater commitment to wider integration of solar power is needed
In June 2021, in Thailand, the world’s largest floating solar farm went into operation on the Sirindhorn Dam, Ubon Ratchatani province. Using 144,000 separate solar panels and covering the equivalent of 100 football fields, the farm can produce 45 MW at peak power, compared with 36 MW produced by the dam itself.
The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand has further plans for floating solar farms at nine more dams over the next decade. While the CCPI experts welcome such developments, they note that floating farms represent low-hanging fruit and a greater commitment to wider integration of solar power is still needed. There remains a ban on ground-mounted solar projects being connected to the national grid in Thai energy policy, and the country suffers from the lack of a net-metering system.
The reduction in projected solar from the 2018 to 2022 Power Development Plans shows a regressive attitude to a clean energy transition. Thailand’s five-year linear trend indicates less renewable energy production rather than a much-needed increase. Furthermore, Thailand’s share of renewable energy in energy use compared with a well-below-2°C trajectory rates very low.
The following national experts agreed to be mentioned as contributors for this year’s CCPI:
- Tara Buakamsri (Greenpeace Thailand)
- Boonrod Yaowapruek (Creagy)