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Alliance for Promoting Renewable Energy in Mae Hong Son, Thailand
 

Access to electricity for many Thais is only a matter of flipping a switch; but for a number of villagers living in the rugged terrain of Mae Hong Son it is still a luxury. Fifty five percent of the villages in Mae Hong Son have access to the grid, while other villages have no access at all or are supplied by off-grid modules like diesel GenSets. An alliance of many actors is addressing this pressing issue now. Key partners of the alliance include: UNDP, Thailand Environment Institute (TEI), Global Environmental Facility (GEF), Mae Hong Son Provincial Office, the Ministry of Energy, Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT), the Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA), and the Bank of Agricultural and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC).

Via the project ‘‘Promoting Renewable Energy in Mae Hong Son and Nearby Provinces” the main barriers preventing the widespread and sustainable utilization of renewable energy technologies in Northern Thailand will be addressed. The project, supported with a US$2.7 million grant from the GEF, is in line with the Ministry of Energy’s policy to promote Mae Hong Son as one of the 4 pilot provinces on renewable energy sufficiency. It aims to increase the amount of on-grid electricity generated by renewable energy in Mae Hong Son from 17 MW to 27 MW in five years as well as strengthening institutional capacities to plan, manage and operate renewable energies. Targeted types of renewable energy include micro-hydro power, biomass, and solar.

UNDP Thailand together with key partners signed a declaration to kick-off the project on 29 January 2011 at Doi Kong Mu Temple in Mae Hong Son. The event was chaired by Deputy Governor, Taweesak Wattanathammarak and Deputy Permanent Secretary of Energy Kurujit Nakhonthap. On the long term the government of Thailand aims to achieve 100% of the energy supply in Mae Hong Son to be derived from renewable sources. “Mae Hong Son is remote and poor, but it is also well-endowed with natural resources with great potential for renewable energy development,” said Mr.Twarath Sutabutr, Deputy Director General of Ministry of Energy’s Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency. “We are pleased to be able to draw supports from different agencies to support Mae Hong Son to develop this potential, which will provide an example for other provinces in Thailand.”

Apart from this UNDP/GEF project, there are two parallel projects on renewable energy in Mae Hong Son. One is the master plan for the pilot energy province conducted by Chiang Mai’s Energy Research and Development Institute. The other is the UN Joint Programme on “Integrated Highland Livelihood Development in Mae Hong Son,” which has a component on promoting off-grid renewable energy.

For more information please contact Ms.Warin Choomsai Na Ayudhaya at warin@tei.or.th (project manager for the project “Promoting Renewable Energy in Mae Hong Son and Nearby Provinces”), or Ms. Sutharin Koonphol at sutharin.koonphol@undp.org (Programme Analyst UNDP)

 

by: http://regionalcentrebangkok.undp.or.th/practices/energy_env/ESD-News_2011.6_Main.html