Asean Power Week to focus on sustainability

Construction News

ASEAN Power Week, comprising Power-Gen Asia, Renewable Energy World Asia and the Power-Gen Asia Financial Forum, will be held from September 1-3 at the Impact Exhibition and Convention Centre under the theme “Investing in a Sustainable Tomorrow”.

The host of the annual event, diversified business-to-business media company PennWell Corporation, anticipates more than 7,500 delegates and attendees from more than 60 countries.

The three-day programme features seven conference tracks of more than 50 sessions featuring more than 150 international experts who will present and discuss the most important topics in the power-generation industry.

They will focus on strategic and technical power issues and challenges, the continued growth of the renewable and alternative energy sectors, and the financial marketplace as it pertains to power generation.

In advance of the event, a panel of government and industry experts from Thailand and elsewhere in Asia on Thursday joined together to share views on energy issues, with the focus on Thailand’s progress in diversifying its electricity-generation industry.

Kulwaree Buranasajjawaraporn, director of the Solar Energy Development Bureau for the Energy Ministry’s Department of Alternative Energy and Efficiency, said Thailand had a lot of lessons to share with other Asean members on its development of renewable energy and energy mixes.

According to Dr Heather Johnstone, Asean Power Week director and moderator for the panel discussion, energy demand is expected to double in the Asia-Pacific region by 2030. Therefore Thailand, as Asean’s second-largest energy consumer, is one of the key countries looking at how it can improve efficiencies to help cut demand by 15 per cent by 2035.

She added that Southeast Asia was one of the few power markets that were exhibiting sustained growth, and was becoming recognised as a major energy player in Asia. As the second-biggest energy consumer in Asean, Thailand has a fundamental role to play.

Markus Lorenzini, president and chief executive of Siemens Thailand, said the key to the issue of energy security was balance. The four key challenges in the power-generation market are climate protection, resource efficiency, creating a reliable power supply, and affordability.

He added that Thailand was, in comparison to its neighbouring countries, well developed in the power-generation mix between natural fuel and renewable technologies. He hopes Thailand will continue with the concept of having high-efficiency power-generation technologies installed with a strong balance of renewable energy sources.

Kowit Chuengsatiansup, vice president for corporate planning at Global Power Synergy Company Thailand, said strong diversification of energy development relied on the private and public sectors working together.

Sarah Fairhurst, partner and co-founder of The Lantau Group (HK), said there had been quite a lot of discussion in the region about achievable targets in renewable energy, and on the flip side there is renewed investment in clean-coal technologies to balance this.

She added that the next critical step in this discussion would be highlighting to the public that coal is still a highly viable energy source. Events like Asean Power Week can be a useful forum for people to understand that it is possible to build clean-coal technology with many economic, social and environmental benefits. In her view, completely ruling out coal from a nation’s energy mix is unwise, which is why she thinks Thailand could get it right.

Darren Garwood, Asia-Pacific regional general manager at GE Power & Water, said Thailand was considered quite progressive and the region’s leader in regards to its renewable-energy efforts. He added that natural gas would continue to play a major role in the region’s energy mix, with multiple avenues to managing it successfully.

Songwut Khandee, manager of the Alternative Energy Encouragement Division at the Provincial Electricity Authority, said the PEA was improving electricity systems to link with new small power plants that utilise renewable energy sources.