Report: Coal and gas to stay cheap, but renewables still win race on costs

Low prices for coal and gas are likely to persist, but will fail to prevent a fundamental transformation of the world electricity system over coming decades towards renewable sources such as wind and solar, and towards balancing options such as batteries.

The latest long-term forecast from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, entitled New Energy Outlook 2016, charts a significantly lower track for global coal, gas and oil prices than did the equivalent projection a year ago. Crucially, however, it also shows a steeper decline for wind and solar costs.

Mining Activists from Three Provinces Discuss Advocacy

About 30 Community Mining Focal People (CMFP) from Mondolkiri, Ratanakiri and Preah Vihear province gathered on June 14 2016 in Banlung town of Ratanakiri province to present and share their implementation of advocacy plans and updates about impacts of mining on local people.

Ms. Vong Socheat, a CMFP from Mondolkiri province said that one mining company has a license to mine and the company forced villagers to give farmlands to them because the farmlands are in the exploration or exploitation area of the company. She also said that local authorities have not paid attention to those issues, but they have forced local people to leave their farmlands as it belongs to the company.

Public Participation and Learning in Impact Assessment

Members of the Regional Technical Working Group on Environmental Impact Assessment (RTWG on EIA, facilitated by Mekong Partnership for the Environment) participated in the Annual Conference of International Association for Impact Assessment in Nagoya, Japan in May 2016. IAIA is a global conference focusing on Impact Assessment tools and issues such as EIA, Health Impact Assessment (HIA), Public Participation, Biodiversity, Climate Change, and other topics. Here, an RTWG member shares his thoughts on the event and particularly one session “Learning-Centered Approaches to Impact Assessment.”

Party, State to facilitate better business in Laos

The Party and State will facilitate Vietnamese investment and business in Laos, President Trần Đại Quang said during a working session with Vietnamese investors in Laos yesterday.

He hailed the efforts of businesses and of the Association of Vietnamese Investors in Laos to overcome difficulties and to ensure their projects are implemented on schedule. He also asked the association and relevant ministries to co-ordinate with the Lao side to better facilitate business operations, with the focus on energy, mineral exploration, exploitation and processing, agriculture, tourism, finance and banking. And he asked businesses to take more social responsibility to reduce poverty, protect the environment, and ensure social welfare.

Sun, Partnerships Power Thailand Solar Project

Sitting in the courtyard of his home in Lopburi Province, 180 kilometers north of Bangkok, Saichol Thanomsak remembers what life was like for the nearly 600 people in Moo 3 Village before Asia’s largest thin-film photovoltaic solar energy project moved in nearby. Land was not fertile and jobs were scarce, forcing breadwinners to seek employment elsewhere. For those who remained, life could be grim.

“The armed forces use nearby fields for firing practice and villagers would collect artillery shells for scrap metal,” he says. “Sometimes they blew up and there were many injuries. Today, we don’t have to take such risks. Our village benefits greatly from the solar plant. It has allowed so many of us to stay home and make a decent living.”

Saving the Salween: Southeast Asia’s last major undammed river

In a world of galloping hydro-power rapidly engulfing the developing world and new dams popping up in the Amazon, the Congo and along the Mekong, it is hard to find any important river left in the world, that has escaped unscathed and undammed.

The free-flowing Salween is the last important undammed river in East Asia, where endangered species including tigers and clouded leopards can still be found in remote parts of Myanmar’s ethnic Karen State.

From the snow-capped mountains of Tibet, the Salween rushes through steep gorges in Yunnan Province and flows through four of Myanmar’s ethnic states before emptying into the Andaman Sea.

MPE’s Cambodian Civil Society Partners Make Major Contribution to New Mining EIA Framework

Cambodia’s Ministry of Mines and Energy and the Ministry of Environment have co-signed an agreement to improve Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) requirements in artisanal and small scale mining projects. Mekong Partnership for the Environment (MPE) partner Development and Partnership in Action (DPA) and a network of CSOs they facilitate played a key role in advising the government prior to the final agreement. The agreement aims to bring better transparency leading to stronger public participation in EIA processes.

No authority to prevent new Mekong River projects: MRC

THE MEKONG RIVER Commission (MRC) does not have the authority to stop projects even if they have transboundary effects, delegates to the fourth Green Mekong Forum said on Monday, while the Thai Irrigation Department presented a water diversion project to fight poverty.

Around 100 delegates from Mekong River countries and international observers attended the forum in Bangkok to follow the latest developments in infrastructure and water resource management in the Mekong River Region.

900km Sino-Thai railway decade dream achieved

A nearly 900 kilometers railway project, China and Thailand has negotiated for ten years. On the occasion of Trans-Asian Railway makes its first appearance of the early harvest, Ta Kung Pao reporters explore and look for opportunities and risks along the railway line. This railway connecting the border of Laos and Bangkok, towards Mada Pu Industrial Park, will be linked with China-Lao railway and reaches KungMing, YunNan province in the end, which draws a giant circulation map which connects China with Laos and Thailand.