FORE­WORD Aina Eidsvik, Pres­i­dent of the Thai-Nor­we­gian Cham­ber re­flects on the re­gion’s en­ergy op­tions.

Norway-Asia Business Review - - Contents - Sin­cerely, Aina Eidsvik Pres­i­dent Thai-Nor­we­gian Cham­ber of Com­merce

O ppor­tu­ni­ties Are like Sun­rises, if you wait too long you miss them. (William Arthur Ward). The de­mand for en­ergy in the ASEAN coun­tries has grown 60% over the last 15 years and is ex­pected to grow an­other 60% from now un­til 2040. The growth in en­ergy con­sump­tion is driven both by an in­creas­ing pop­u­la­tion and by an im­proved stan­dard of liv­ing. While ac­cess to elec­tric­ity has long been taken for granted in the West, 10% of the pop­u­la­tion in ASEAN - 65 mil­lion peo­ple - still re­main with­out it. It rep­re­sents a chal­lenge for the re­gion and huge in­vest­ments will be needed to sat­isfy the de­mand.

Mod­ern en­ergy should be af­ford­able, re­li­able and sus­tain­able. Thai­land has a pro­gres­sive en­ergy plan and in the Thai­land In­te­grated En­ergy Blue­print (TIEB) the Thai gov­ern­ment has set a tar­get to cover 30% of the coun­try’s en­ergy con­sump­tion from re­new­able sources by 2036, up from around 12% now and a quan­tum leap if achieved.

Re­new­able en­ergy has so far been more ex­pen­sive than fos­sil fu­els but this is set to change and some sources claim that re­new­able en­ergy will be a more eco­nom­i­cal op­tion al­ready by 2020.

De­spite this, Thai­land is con­sid­er­ing build­ing a new coal-fired power plant. It is be­lieved to be a more cost-ef­fec­tive op­tion to cover the in­creas­ing en­ergy de­mand than LNG or re­new­able en­ergy. It is dif­fi­cult to un­der­stand the rea­son­ing be­hind it since LNG would be a more en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly in­terim so­lu­tion un­til pro­duc­tion of af­ford­able re­new­able en­ergy is suf­fi­ciently in­creased. Nat­u­ral gas is not re­new­able but it is far cleaner than even the clean­est coal tech­nol­ogy. Nat­u­ral gas power has also been more af­ford­able than coal power over the last num­ber of years.

As you can read in sev­eral of the ar­ti­cles in this is­sue, sus­tain­able en­ergy tech­nol­ogy is ad­vanc­ing at a rapid pace. Nor­way has over 100 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence with re­new­able en­ergy and the knowhow is be­ing utilised and fur­ther de­vel­oped by a wide range of com­pa­nies. These com­pa­nies pro­vide mod­ern so­lu­tions to the en­ergy chal­lenge and are warmly wel­comed by the ASEAN gov­ern­ments. If some of the com­pa­nies could work to­gether and de­velop com­bined en­ergy so­lu­tions to coun­tries in ASEAN, they are even more likely to be­come suc­cess sto­ries.

PHOTO: THAI-NOR­WE­GIAN CHAM­BER OF COM­MERCE

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