Greenpeace Assists Thai Villagers with Solar Installation

Greenpeace has helped the villagers of Bo Nok and Ban Khrut in the province of Prachuap Khiri Khan install solar power on two public buildings, to illustrate that the community is serious in its desire for Renewable Energy for Thailand.

PRACHUAP KHIRI KHAN, Thailand – April 12, 2002 [SolarAccess.com] For the past 8 years, people of Prachuap Khiri Khan have opposed plans by US energy company Edison and Thai company Gulf Power to build two coal-fired power stations in the region. The proposed plants are funded by a consortium of US, Japanese, Hong Kong and Thai companies. “Thailand does need energy, but we don’t want dirty, old fashioned technology dumped on us from the US by Edison,” said Greenpeace campaigner Penrapee Noparumpa. “We want clean, Renewable Energy that is not going to destroy the climate or the local subsistence livelihoods. Installing the solar panels on these community buildings is the first step toward achieving sustainable, Renewable Energy sources here which will eventually include a larger solar program, biogas and wind sources.” A team of two Greenpeace activists and three workers from Thai Agency Engineering installed solar panels on the roof of a primary school (Ban Nong Pu Lok) and adjacent to a local temple (Thong Chai Thammachak). The panels will provide around two kilowatts of power to each – enough electricity to operate the light and power needs of the buildings. “To make these work they must be given access to the main electricity grid. Then they are a real and viable alternative to the proposed coal fired power stations. The people of Bo Nok and Ban Khrut are not just complaining about the coal-fired plants. They are doing something about achieving truly sustainable and reliable energy supplies,” said Noparumpa. Earlier this month Penrapee Noparumpa from Thailand traveled to Edison’s headquarters in California to protest against the coal-fired power station proposal. In January when the Prime Minister of Thailand visited the site of the proposed coal-fired power plant he was met by 20,000 protestors. He has promised to decide whether or not to cancel the plants and will announce his decision by the end of this month. “The Thai government is facing a lot of pressure from rich multinational banks and companies that are backing the power station proposal,” said Greenpeace Solar expert, Sven Teske. “But it’s time that the wishes of the Thai people were heard. They don’t want dirty energy exports from Western companies like Edison from the US who use criminal contracts to dump technology which is unwanted in the North on poorer communities in the South.” In February 2000, the Finnish power company, Fortum, with the backing of the Nordic Investment Bank, pulled out of the controversial projects after pressure from environment and community groups in Europe and Thailand.

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