Thai protests slow transition to renewables

Mass protests against Thailand’s government and monarchy are creating political uncertainty that is likely to last for an extended period—and make the country’s renewable energy targets harder to meet.

Protesters have three main aims: the resignation of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, reform of the monarchy and revision of the constitution to strengthen democratic participation. None of those will be easily granted, but nor are the protesters likely to give up soon.

Thailand aims to double the share of renewables in its power mix to 30pc by 2037. But the political crisis is likely to mean a decline in foreign investment until a new political equilibrium emerges.

Thailand faces “stronger headwinds than most” in attempting a renewables transition, says Courtney Weatherby, research analyst for Southeast Asia at the Stimson Center in Washington. In a country that depends heavily on tourism, the protests means there are “multiple stresses on the economic system,” she says. “Some of these might make investors look to ­Vietnam.”

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