Energy is crucial to modern life in Thailand as well as the country’s economic growth. However, as the world population grows, providing enough energy for this population will further strain the global supply of limited fossil fuels and also contribute to increased emissions of greenhouse gasses, further contributing to global climate change. These changes promise to have long-term impacts on both the environment and human society.
As part of its other sustainable development efforts, TEI has maintained a strong focus on energy and energy issues since its founding in 1993. TEI engaged in projects focusing on the conservation and balance of energy consumption at the national level , the energy security of the country, the reduction of health and environmental impacts, and coordination to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
In addition to promoting alternative energy and clean energy as a way to reduce environmental and social impact TEI also supports the development of a diversity of energy sources in order to increase Thailand’s energy security. In 2004-2008 Thailand Environment Institute promoted reducing energy consumption and increasing energy efficiency in the industrial sector through internationally-recognized tools or processes such as the Total Energy Management (TEM). This process emphasized sending specialist to give in-depth advice to over 200 factories. Sharing knowledge about actual practices led to the adjustment of equipment, the introduction of new behaviors, and a reduction of electricity consumption of over 600 million baht per year. TEI has also provided manuals for inspecting and maintaining equipment and machinery so that factories can operate these processes independently.
In addition to Total Energy Management, Thailand Environment Institute has also worked with a number of programs and tools to reduce energy consumption and change behavior for a variety of sectors in accordance with the different contexts, including Low Carbon Society, Clean Development Mechanism, Cleaner Production, Cleaner Technology, Carbon Reduction Label and Green Label. These approaches are employed with a variety of people and organizations at all levels of society, including businessmen, schools, local governments, national governments, and regional institutions, in order to further attempts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollution, to increase competitive capabilities, and to minimize costs of operations and/or activities. Moreover, these tools encourage and motivate different actors to engage and develop creative solutions and ideas for better environmental management.
Thailand Environment Institute has helped quantify decreased energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions due to changes in operations, in order to encourage organizations and highlight the effectiveness of these practices. Some examples of where TEI has done this successfully include:
- Coordinating with the Thailand Business Council for Sustainable Development (TBCSD) to reduce energy consumption under Low Carbon Society project;
- Developing a Carbon Reduction Label for certifying products that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions in production processes according to specified criteria;
- Developing a Carbon Life Cycle Inventory and Carbon Life Cycle Assessment for fundamental materials and energy in Thailand to promote energy and resource use reductions and to identify Green Label products; and
- Using Carbon Footprint as a tool to outline approaches to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
In addition, TEI has helped organizations at the corporate and regional level with training, energy management to reduce waste and identify efficiencies, using heat energy in high technology industry, improving efficiency of solar energy, and creating balance of energy consumption and environmental protection.
TEI recognizes that changing behavior is a more sustainable way to achieve long-term change. Towards this end, TEI has developed a number of projects to shape and cultivate youth behavior regarding energy and resource consumption through the Rung Arun Project, the Ecology School Project, the Stop Global Warming with Our Hands Project, and the Stop Global Warming through Sufficient Way Project. Moreover, TEI has also emphasized energy management capacity building by providing forums for training, seminars, and knowledge sharing, as well as developing print and online media aimed at disseminating knowledge to the public.
In addition to the ongoing Carbon Reduction Label Project, the Green Label Project was aimed to outline regulations to cover a wider variety of products and increase the number of products in the market and to encourage public sector procurement of eco-friendly goods and services. Further, TEI’s Barrier Removal to the Cost-Effective Development and Implementation of Energy Efficiency Standards and Labeling Project emphasized increasing and promulgating standards energy efficiency and electronic utilization across developing countries in the ASEAN region.
Locally, TEI has cooperated with Mae Hong Song Province and government agencies from the local and central regions, such as Ministry of Energy and Energy Generating Authority of Thailand, to promote alternative energy in Mae Hong Song and nearby provinces, identify ways to reduce barriers, and integrate renewable energy into the provincial and local plans. Through this and other projects, provincial and local level efforts have showed great success in reducing greenhouse gas emissions through a variety of approaches.