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  • Dam the Mekong, Thailand Buys More Hydroelectricity from Laos

    09/09/2016

    A power purchasing agreement was signed on Tuesday, during Thai Prime Minister General Prayuth chan-Ocha’s visit to the Prime Minister of Laos Thongloun Sisoulith, while attending the 28th and 29th Asean Summits and related meetings from September 6-8 in Vientiane.

    Thailand has increased its purchase of electricity from 7,000 to 9,000 megawatts from Laos this year to ensure sufficient supply and meet rising demand.

  • Officials committed to Dawei

    09/08/2016

    Thai officials and their Myanmar counterparts remain committed to the long-awaited Dawei megaproject, with the Myanmar-Thailand Joint High-Level Committee (JHC) and the Joint Coordinating Committee (JCC) to be set up soon to foster development.

    Porametee Vimolsiri, secretary-general to the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB), said the recent joint ministerial meeting held on Aug 15-16 in Myanmar agreed to revitalise the role of the JHC and the JCC to rev up the multibillion-dollar project.

    New sets of the two committees, which stalled before Myanmar held a general election on Nov 8 last year, are to be established soon.

  • The Thanlwin River – a victim of misdirected electric power

    09/07/2016

    The Myanmar government is trying to focus on generating electricity from cost-effective water resources to meet local demand for electricity.

    The public does not accept the Myitsone dam project as a way to generate hydroelectric power from the Ayeyawady River, nor does it accept coal-fired power projects. When it comes to gas-fired power projects, gas from the existing projects is not enough for domestic consumption as it is being excessively produced for export purposes. Besides, natural gas has a high production cost.

    The Thanlwin River, also called the Salween River, is set to become the next victim. But the public does not accept this either.

  • Gigawatts for Mega-spenders: Infographic shows Bangkok’s luxury malls use more energy than some provinces

    09/05/2016

    Thailand may be a middle income country, but enter one of the capital’s many new, opulent shopping complexes and you’ll think you’ve been transported to New York or Singapore. EmQuartier, Bangkok’s latest retail destination for the well-healed houses such brands as Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Prada, Dior, Tiffany and Cartier as do half a dozen of its predecessors along a six kilometers retail corridor in the city’s downtown.

  • Get your face masks out for ‘coal tourism’

    08/31/2016

    My trip to Songkhla in the south of Thailand earlier this week was not a typical sightseeing jaunt, but it was certainly worthwhile.

    My destination was not Muang district which is famous for its old-town quarters or Hat Yai, the well-known shopping district of the southern region, but a pristine beach in Thepa’s tambon Pak Bang which is the designated site for a controversial coal-fired power plant.

  • Into the Zone: SEZs in the Mekong Region, Income…or Instability? (Part 1)

    08/30/2016

    The Mekong region is abuzz with news about special economic zones (SEZs). From Thailand’s prime minister telling US business leaders that the Kingdom’s SEZs are a cornerstone to his economic reforms, to Ho Chi Minh City’s mayor wanting 890 km2 designated as an SEZ to revive his city’s economic leadership, to Myanmar’s newly elected government facing increasing pressure to review the outgoing-junta-approved SEZs now underway there—these foreign-investment magnets are picking up steam as ASEAN integration progresses within the Greater Mekong Subregion.

    But what’s so special about these zones? Can they unlock new pathways to region’s economic potential, or as the Bangkok Post warned recently, should policy-makers proceed with caution given the immense complexities to securing SEZs’ desired benefits?

  • Egat insists on going ahead with Thepa plant

    08/25/2016

    CONSTRUCTION of the Thepa coal-fired power plant is set to begin in the second quarter of next year, the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) said, even though many locals have refused to sell their land despite facing threats.

    Egat has so far insisted that it will build the 2,200-megawatt power plant in Songkhla’s Thepa district, despite strong protests from local people. The Environment and Health Impact Assessment (EHIA) for both the plant and coal transport has also not been approved by the Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning Office (ONEP).

  • Research: Impacts of Dams and Global Warming on Fish Biodiversity in the Indo-Burma Hotspot

    08/23/2016

    Both hydropower dams and global warming pose threats to freshwater fish diversity. While the extent of global warming may be reduced by a shift towards energy generation by large dams in order to reduce fossil-fuel use, such dams profoundly modify riverine habitats. Furthermore, the threats posed by dams and global warming will interact: for example, dams constrain range adjustments by fishes that might compensate for warming temperatures. Evaluation of their combined or synergistic effects is thus essential for adequate assessment of the consequences of planned water-resource developments.

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