Thailand, Laos and Malaysia have agreed to increase a trilateral electricity agreement, under which Laotian energy will be sold to Malaysia through the Thai grid.
« Thailand, Laos and Malaysia achieved a new purchase deal, raising the capacity from 100 to 300 megawatts, » said Sontirat Sontijirawong, Thailand’s Energy Minister, after a four-day meeting in Bangkok with his counterparts from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
« It is a model project of ASEAN grid connectivity. We agreed to officially sign the contract soon, » he said.
The first phase of the agreement, known as the « Lao PDR, Thailand, Malaysia – Power Integration Project » (LTM-PIP), was implemented in early 2018 and will start its second phase in January 2020. Under the new commitment, Laos will increase the amount of electricity sold to Malaysia via Thailand from 100 to 300 MW.
Yeo Bee Yin, Malaysian Minister of Energy, and Khammany Inthirath, his Laotian counterpart, took part in the talks with Mr. Sontirat in Bangkok.
« This cooperation will be a stepping stone to further grid connection. Now we have Laos, Thailand and Malaysia. In the future, we will have Singapore, Myanmar and Cambodia joining the next phases, » said Mr. Sontirat.
23% renewable electricity in ASEAN by 2025
According to the Thai minister, Thailand and Myanmar are also considering a 250 MW connection plan due to Myanmar’s growing demand, in line with its economic development. The current supply only covers 50% of its needs, he added.
In order to protect the environment and combat global warming, the Thailand’s National Science and Technology Development Agency and ASEAN Center of Energy have also signed a cooperation protocol. The latter intends to find alternative methods of electricity production, especially solar and wind power, in order to replace fossil fuels.
« The signing is aimed at pushing ASEAN to use renewable, alternative energies from 14 to 23 percent by 2025, » said Mr. Sontirat. « ASEAN is moving toward clean energies … to help reduce global warming. »
The trilateral agreement between Thailand, Laos and Malaysia is part of a programme developed by Thailand. It aims to transform the country into a major hub at the heart of the regional network, said Wattanapong Kurovat, Director General of the Government’s Energy Policy and Planning Department.
« We’re trying to move quickly to become the center of the region’s power grid, » Wattanapong explained to Bloomberg. « We already have the capacity and the infrastructure to support the vision to become the regional hub. »
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