Siemens touts biomass for Thai climate change goals
GERMAN ENGINEERING giant Siemens will help Thailand attain its renewable energy goals in turning biomass to fuels to comply with the reduction of carbon emissions under the Paris Accord, said Willi Meixner, CEO of its Power and Gas Division.
“Thailand is set to generate massive amounts of renewable power from biomass or waste from farms, Meixner said. Siemens’ new generation of turbines is suitable for crops such as cane sugar and maize, he added. The German machines have been increasingly employed by agro giants to raise power output as well as ensure “ zero waste” operations at refinereries and plants. The rising need for electrification as a result or greater urbanisation in Asean countries, puts Thailand at the forefront of modern non-polluting practices, he said. “Siemens can enhance the Kingdom’s long march to using renewable sources, a move started by the late King Bhumibhol Adulyadej. We have designed new reliable and turbines that can do the job while also fighting climate change,” said the CEO.
“The recent damage left behind by hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, shows climate change must be curbed,” he said. ‘We are meeting this week with 100 Thai customers,” said Meixner. “They represent top energy companies that require dependable and efficient turbines and equipment for biomass as well as other local sources. One of Siemens’ customers is Mitr Phol, a global sugar exporter that already has more than six biomass power plants. Another partner is BGrimm, which has a long-standing tie with Siemens dating more than a century. Thailand is one of the top three Southeast Asian markets for Siemens, said Markus Lorenzini, Siemens CEO for Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar.
Lorenzini said Siemens has long established its reputation here with its support in power generation for decades, ranging from coal fired plants to mega wind farms. Neixner said he was “very impressed” by Thailand as it is doing its part to clean up the environment with recycling waste and promoting clean fuels such as solar, wind and hydro. Thailand is trying to “keep its commitment as a signatory member to the Paris Agreement” to reduce CO2 and other greenhouse emissions, he said. Siemens itself has a strong commitment to fulfill its own clean energy goals. We aim to be a carbon neutral company by 2030,”said Meixner. Siemens’ power and gas division contributes 20 per cent of the giant’s total revenues of 75 billion euros annually. Meixner’s unit grows about 10 per cent a year. About 20 per cent of its business comes from Asia, a fast growing market with Thailand ranked among the top three customers. Lorenzini said in the future, demand should be coming from the less developed countries in Asean, so there is a need to show that what works for Thailand is possible for these emergingmarkets as well. At the same times, the establishment of regional agreements to sell power among the countrues will also require time to reach agreements on pricing and other conditions for energy to be traded in the 10-member bloc.
Siemens is also known for its role in building mass transit rail lines, feat that began 18 years ago with resounding success. The commuter lines have helped reduce the burning of petrol and contributed to a more efficient, cleaner metropolis. The next decade will see new challenges as electric cars take to the streets in Asia. China is moving to have half its cars being EVs by 2030, Meixner noted. The trend is for more electrification he said. But one of the dilemas in the energy field is “payig for it”. Consumers all want clean energy at cheap prices, he added. For the short term, this may not be easy to attain. Over the medium term, however, it is likely that renewables such as solar and wind could reach parity with conventional sources, said many experts. But Siemens is of the view that it may be prudent to have a mix, “just in case of emergencies”.
In funding projects, Lorenzini said people must be prepared to invest a sizeable amount in technology as well as equipment for such aims to be reached. Siemens is usually works better with the private sector as it understands the realities of balance sheets and the efficient deployment of capital. It is therefore helpful for state agencies to work with private firms in the construction and running of infrastructure to ensure success, he noted.