Thailand aims to boost wind energy capacity by 700 percent

More than $80 million in combined funding will help advance the wind energy potential in Thailand, the Asian Development Bank said Monday.

“Wind energy provides a clean and sustainable source of electricity which will help diversify the country’s energy mix, strengthen energy security and reduce Thailand’s reliance on fossil fuels,” Christopher Thieme, a private sector development officer at the ADB, said in a statement.

The ADB said it signed a deal to provide direct and indirect loans worth a combined $85 million to help Thai company Chaiyaphum Wind Farm develop a wind power plant outside of Bangkok. The 81 megawatt power plant is expected to be servicing the national grid by December 2016.

In November, the government received a $23 million grant from the World Bank to help phase out production of ozone-depleting greenhouse gases. For renewables, the Thai government aims to install 1,800 MW of wind energy 2021, though the ADB says substantial investment is needed to stimulate a power sector with only 223 MW of installed capacity.

Thailand relies heavily on fossil fuels, with 65 percent of its power generation coming from natural gas and 20 percent from coal and lignite. The ADB says high demand and dwindling reserves in the Gulf of Thailand means the country need to work quickly to find new sources of energy.

Former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is facing impeachment over a rice subsidy scheme that cost the country billions of dollars.