Thailand is on a “green path to a secure energy future”, with 25 per cent of its electricity expected to be generated by renewables by 2021.

That was the message delivered to the audience at the opening session of POWER-GEN Asia in Bangkok today.

Pongdith Potchana, deputy governor for corporate social responsibility at EGAT (Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand), said that between $20-27bn would need to be invested in the country’s power system in the next decade to meet demand, with renewables playing a key role in the future energy mix.

Which he said would mean Thailand “will surely be one of the best destinations for investment in the power industry”.

The push for more renewable energy was also stressed by Potchana’s fellow keynote speaker, Norkun Sitthiphong, permanent secretary at Thailand’s Energy Ministry.

He said that Thailand’s power goals were to meet rising demand while becoming more self-sufficient, which would he predicted would see renewables account for 9200 MW by 2021, with this comprising biomass, solar and wind.

Both speakers stressed that Asia was a market of difficulties and opportunities. “We find ourselves in interesting and challenging times,” said Sitthiphong, while Potchana noted that the Asean market was showing signs “of a strong rebound” from the economic crisis.

Potchana added that power was high on the agenda of the Asean countries, and together all ten would form a single market base which would create “unparralled opportunities for investment” in the energy sector.

The third keynote speaker, Tim Rourke, president of GE Aero Energy Asia, put the growing global energy demand into the context of demographics: the worldwide middle classes are expected to surge, with 85 per cent of growth occurring in Asia. More middle classes means more electricity, said Rourke, as these people fulfilled their aspirations with electrical purchases and greater energy use.

Later in the morning, all three speakers cut the ribbon to officially open the exhibition floor. POWER-GEN Asia is marking its 20th anniversary this year and over the next three days some 7000 industry professionals from over 60 countries will converge on the show in Bangkok.

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