Gulf and AIS to build solar-power infrastructure for mountain villages

Gulf and AIS to build solar-power infrastructure for mountain villages

Thai energy company Gulf Energy Development announced on Friday it has launched an initiative with local telco AIS and the Highland Research and Development Institute (HRDI) to build up solar-powered infrastructure in Thailand’s remote mountainous regions.

Under the "Green Energy, Green Network for THAIs" project, Gulf, AIS and HRDI will deliver solar power-generated electricity to under-resourced communities. The project also includes installation of solar-powered base stations to build out telecoms systems in those areas and connect them to digital platforms.

Gulf, AIS and HRDI have already named the first two communities to be targeted for the project: Ban Dok Mai Sod community and Moko Poke community in Mae Usu, a subdistrict of Tha Song Yang district in Tak province in lower north Thailand. The project will be progressively extended to other communities later, Gulf said.

Gulf said the overarching goal of the initiative is to bridge the digital and socioeconomic divide, boost quality of life and catalyse sustainable economic growth in these communities.

AIS CEO Somchai Lertsuthiwong said the companies will continuously monitor changes and progress in each community to evaluate the project's effectiveness in reducing social inequality, adding that the criteria will be different based on the community’s individual situation.

“For instance, the Moko Poke community … will gain opportunities to acquire knowledge in coffee bean production and enhance their marketing outreach. This aligns with the community leaders' vision to transition the local economy’s reliance away from corn farming to coffee bean cultivation instead,” he explained. “By introducing high-quality coffee beans to a broader market, the initiative aims to secure a stable and sustainable income stream for the community.”

According to Gulf COO Theerathiphisa Tawichpasoot, the "Green Energy, Green Network for THAIs" project is an extension of an existing project launched by Gulf and its subsidiary Gulf1 last year to bring clean energy and connectivity to underserved communities. That initiative has started pilot projects in Baan Huai Nam Sai (in Phitsanulok Province), Thung Nang Dam Island (in Phang Nga Province), Ban Mae To La (in Mae Hong Son Province), and Ban Phi Pan Nuea (in Chiang Mai Province), as well as Baan Dok Mai Sod and Doi Moko Poke.

The announcement on Friday adds telecoms to the mix by bringing in AIS to widen the project’s scope, she said. “This collaboration aims to bridge the digital gap while simultaneously providing clean energy solutions.”

Chavalit Chookajorn, chairman of the board of directors at HRDI – a public institution promoting socio-economic development in Thailand’s mountainous regions – added, “This project also paves the way for further collaboration in areas such as healthcare, education, and vocational skill development, as well as product marketing, all aimed at improving the quality of life for these communities.”

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