This report provides a rapid assessment of the sustainability performance of the Thai power development plan (PDP) and a number of related planning processes, such as that of the Mekong River Commission (MRC) and of the Asian Development Bank’s Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) energy strategy.
We focus on the implications (imported) hydropower plays in the Thai power plan. We used the August 2009 draft Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol (HSAP), which is a qualitative multi-criteria audit tool designed to be used by a wide range of interested parties.
Our assessment begins with a brief contextualization. Section 2 introduces the concepts of sustainability assessment and rapid assessment. It also discusses a number of key methodological choices the study team was required to make, so as to render the 2009 HSAP ‘operational’ for use in assessing the Thai power plan. Sections 3 – 6 present detailed results of our assessment. In a context where the agenda typically revolves around the reliability and price of hydropower, as opposed to social and ecological risk, Section 7 discusses the challenges of integrating environmental and social issues into Thai energy planning. Section 8 concludes with brief reflections on the Thai PDP as well as the HSAP tool itself.