U.S. and Thai Governments Engage Private Sector to Chart Energy Future
The United States and Thailand identified new areas for bilateral collaboration in the energy sector during a virtual “Private Sector Engagement Event” held on April 27. Convened under the bilateral “Energy Policy Dialogue” mechanism established October 27 last year, the event brought together leading U.S. and Thai companies, as well as a wide range of government agencies from the two countries. By improving private and public sector coordination, the initiative will help increase access for the Thai public to sustainable, cost-effective sources of energy. U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Michael Heath and Thai Ministry of Energy Permanent Secretary Kulit Sombatsiri led the delegations. Chargé d’Affaires Heath said, “Driven by forward-leaning government policies and private sector innovation, Thailand is leading the region and the world in charting a path to energy security. We applaud the efforts of both U.S. and Thai companies to diversify energy production, modernize infrastructure, and help build regional markets for exchange of energy commodities.” Energy Permanent Secretary Kulit said, “Thailand’s Ministry of Energy recognizes the importance of U.S.-Thai bilateral cooperation on energy. The meeting today provides a major opportunity as a forum for both countries’ private sectors to exchange data and ideas to create a business environment in the energy sector in the future. This comes at the right time to springboard collaboration from all parties in the energy sector to enable economic recovery, including our efforts to prevent and solve climate change problems — which are important at the global level and will be discussed during this meeting.”
Both U.S. and Thai government representatives recognized the critical role that private industry plays in driving innovation and pledged to help identify opportunities for expanded commercial engagement, particularly in the fields of power generation, natural gas, alternative energy, and energy efficiency. U.S. government representatives highlighted tools available to help drive commercial growth and catalyze private sector financing, including through the United States International Development Finance Corporation and the United States Trade and Development Agency. Thai leaders explained how the country’s ambitious plans fit under Thailand’s new integrated National Energy Plan which will be launched under the concept of “Go green with energy security and competitiveness for sustainable energy future”. Private sector companies on both sides offered feedback on ways to ensure a brighter energy future, including the need for clear regulatory and policy frameworks. Participants noted that Thailand plays a key role in facilitating regional connectivity and development of the energy sector throughout Southeast Asia, and they urged Thailand to continue to pursue the goal of a more connected region. The United States and Thailand plan to convene a second Energy Policy Dialogue in Thailand later this year, building on progress made since last year’s inaugural event.