Workshops introduce Renewable Energy Project in Mae Hong Son

Nov 1, 2010

UNDP Thailand/Mark S. Cogan : Mae Hong Son Province in Northern Thailand is almost entirely surrounded by forests and mountains, making travel difficult.

MAE HONG SON PROVINCE - Access to electricity is only one click away for many of the Thais; but for a number of villagers living in the rugged terrain of Mae Hong Son, it is still a luxury. With 2.7 M supported from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), UNDP is working in partnership with Thailand Environment Institute, Mae Hong Son Provincial Office, and Ministry of Energy on the project ‘‘Promoting Renewable Energy in Mae Hong Son and Near By Provinces’ to overcome barriers preventing widespread and sustainable utilization of renewable energy technologies for the provision of energy services in rural areas of Thailand.

This project 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. Other key national partners include the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT), The Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA), and the Bank of Agricultural and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC).

“With 90% of the province as forest protected areas, Mae Hong Son people have to live with nature and strike the balance between utilization and conservation. Renewable energy offers us opportunity to harness natural resources while still living in harmony with it. Hence it is now our provincial strategy to support the promotion renewable energy,” said Deputy Governor Thanin Supasaen in his opening remarks for the workshop to introduce the project, at Mae Hong Son Community College in Muang District.

This was the final in the series of three district-level workshops to introduce this 5-year project to government agencies, local government organizations, private entrepreneurs, academic institutions, and civil society groups in the northern (Pang Mapha District), southern (Mae Sarieng District), and central (Muang District) areas of Mae Hong Son.

The project will work on 4 components: (1) institutional capacity development for planning and implementing renewable energy programmes; (2) financial incentives and access to financing; (3) technical training and education; and (4) policies for up-scaling and replication. Potential renewable energy resources in Mae Hong Son include micro-hydro power, biomass, and solar.

The project is now in its inception phase and will start full implementation in January 2011.