Although this song reminds me of dreamy hippies, here in Southern Thailand it is reality.
The Rainbow Warrior has arrived in Thailand and was greeted by traditional Thai dancers. My heart beat faster when the ship came into port. I still think it is such an amazing sight and a symbol of hope. Slowly it made its way into the berth (actually slowly because we figured out when low tide came, that the berth is not deep enough and the Rainbow Warrior is sitting in the mud, rather than floating.)
In the afternoon the University of Songhkla gave a workshop about small scale, home made wind turbines as a tool for poverty alleviation for communities.
Did you know that Thailand has quite good feed in tariffs for renewable energy? So in theory communities can make a profit by selling their excess electricity back to the grid. The reality looks different as many bureaucratic barriers prevent people from taking up this opportunity. Furthermore the lack of a Renewable Energy law that prioritises green electricity over dirty electricity means that investors prefer building coal fired power plants and even nuclear has appeared on the agenda last year.
The Thai government forecasts an unrealistic increase in energy demand and instead of investing into energy efficiency and renewables, it gives out big contracts for coal fired power stations and thinks about going nuclear. Despite the fact that they say themselves that there is 1600MW wind potential in Southern Thailand.
Coming from a country where the wind capacity has reached now 22GW (that is Thailand’s overall electricity demand) due to a good Renewable Energy law, it is hard to believe that this cannot be repeated in countries blessed with more coast. If you have ever stood under a big 5MW wind turbine, you might share my feeling of being struck with awe and filled with hope for our future.
So it was more than impressive to see yesterday how passionate people started designing their own low cost, small scale wind turbines and push for a renewable energy revolution from the ground until the government gets its act together.
However Thailand is full of these grassroots movements. The movement against coal has grown so powerful that many coal fired power plants had to be canceled. We will visit one of those communities tomorrow and I will tell you more soon.
Have a look here for more pictures of the Rainbow Warrior's arrival in Thailand.