Towards a sustainable energy future—exploring currentbarriers and potential solutions in ThailandSk Noim UddinÆRos TaplinÆXiaojiang YuReceived: 20 February 2008 / Accepted: 26 November 2008 / Published online: 17 December 2008ÓSpringer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008AbstractRenewable energy is considered an indispensable basis of sustainable energysystems as electricity generation from renewable sources results in low emissions ofgreenhouse gases compared to fossil fuel based electricity and contributes to sustainabledevelopment. However, effective strategies and conducive institutional settings are neededfor advancement of such clean electricity systems. Although Thailand, as a nation, has ahuge potential for renewable energy utilization, its total amount of electricity generationfrom renewables is relatively small and could be enlarged substantially. Lack of policymechanisms, institutional development and financing exist as major barriers for Thailandin this regard. Investigation of the nation’s current energy strategy implementation showsthat relevant energy and development policies are at different stages of implementation andinstitutional settings are continuously evolving. This paper argues that further significantefforts could be made towards advancement of renewable electricity and thus achievementof energy sustainability in Thailand. Resource planning, effective policy and institutions,focussed planning for energy sustainability and implementation of the Clean DevelopmentMechanism (CDM) under the Kyoto Protocol could facilitate further advancement ofrenewables for the nation.KeywordsCDMÁSustainable energyÁRenewableÁPolicyÁThailandReaders should send their comments on this paper to: [email protected] within 3 months of publicationof this issue.S. N. Uddin (&)ÁR. TaplinGraduate School of the Environment, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2109, Australiae-mail: [email protected]X. YuDepartment of Geography, Hong Kong Baptist University, Kowloon, Hong Kong123Environ Dev Sustain (2010) 12:63–87DOI 10.1007/s10668-008-9180-1
1 IntroductionUse of renewable energy sources is considered an indispensable basis of sustainable energysystems (Lund2006). Renewable energy systems1provide nearly emission-free electricitycompared with fossil fuel energy systems and offer additional benefits.2However, efficientmanagement of energy systems including the advancement of renewables and appropriatedecision-making with respect to strategies and institutional settings is also necessaryeconomically, socially and environmentally (Schenk et al.2007).As a newly industrialized nation with a fast growing economy, Thailand could benefitfrom development and implementation of sustainable energy systems. They would assist inmeeting its fast-growing energy demand, addressing potential scarcities of fossil fuelsupply and ensuring social and energy security. As a basis for policy development, acomprehensive understanding of Thailand’s current energy systems including renewable orsocio-technical3systems and their governance in the Thai geo-political context is essential.