25 ASIAN LEGAL BUSINESS – MARCH 2024 WWW.LEGALBUSINESSONLINE.COM is not an issue for Thai solar projects. However, as solar capacity continues to expand, it is feasible that supply of solar power may exceed the grid’s capacity, thus necessitating curtailment orders,” says Beckstead. But as energy storage is still far from ubiquitous, Thailand could be facing an imbalance between peak demand - which occurs after sunset - and solar power generation - which at the time is no longer available. This imbalance could hinder a wholesale adoption of renewables especially in high-solar capacity energy markets. “Excess solar capacity may result in the emergence of the so-called ‘duckcurve’, thus requiring dispatchable thermal power plants to be available on standby to meet daily peak power demand,” explains Beckstead. The “duck curve” is a graph of power production over the course of a day that depicts such imbalance between peak demand and the supply of electrical power from solar and other dispatchable sources. Therefore, one of the major concerns for grid operators where there is rapid growth of PVs is the need to rapidly increase other forms of power generation around the time of sunset to compensate for the loss of solar generation, especially in the absence of any form of energy storage. “Natural gas-fired power plants are currently playing a dominant role in supplying power to the grid. Over the coming two decades, as solar grid capacity builds out, it is likely that some of this burden will shift to energy storage technologies, particularly as costs of deploying these technologies continue to fall,” says Beckstead. “Developers and storage OEMs should be aware of likely opportunities to support the Thai grid will be arriving in the near future,” he adds. GREEN-AGE LAWYERS Noting these trends, Beckstead believes law firms and lawyers should proactively take advantage of Thailand’s energy transition endeavour, which is “requiring lawyers to become well-acquainted with new and emerging technologies in order to understand how these will shape markets”. An understanding of new markets, including carbon credit trading and EV manufacturing, will be a skill that is much coveted, he adds. “As new technologies and business models emerge, lawyers will need to be able to assist their clients on regulatory and licensing requirements, as well as drafting and negotiating novel and often bespoke contracts,” says Beckstead. He also underlines the need for legal counsel to stay close to their clients to understand the commercial aspects of new developments in the energy transition sphere. “Ongoing dialogue with clients is important to understand the technical and commercial challenges that clients face and therefore possible risks,” adds Beckstead. BROUGHT TO YOU BY CHANDLER MHM Thailand’ s PM 2.5 Crisis and Path to Clean Air Amidst the pressing air quality crisis, particularly the serious and widespread repercussions of PM2.5 throughout Thailand, the Thai government, in collaboration with various stakeholders including academics and civil society organizations, is actively and diligently working towards the enactment of the proposed Clean Air Act (“Bill”) which aims to systematically reduce pollution and mitigate its effects. The following is a summary of the current draft provisions which are open to further refinement based on input and feedback from relevant stakeholders. Fundamental Rights – The Rights to Clean Air: The Bill is developed from the people’s right to access unpolluted air, commonly known as the right to clean air. Moreover, the Bill stipulates that individuals have the right to access crucial information regarding pollution and air quality, which impact their well-being. The Bill further provides the right to monitor, and protect themselves and others from the threat of air pollution, including the right to participate in government decision-making processes concerning air quality. Supremacy of the Clean Air Act: Prior to the introduction of the Bill, measures to combat air pollution were dispersed across various pieces of legislation, with specific measures applying to certain types of activities. To avoid potential overlaps Economic instruments and measures: To incentivize public efforts towards achieving clean air, the Bill introduces economic instruments and measures, including (i) tax and fee incentives (including additional taxes and fees imposed on the owners or possessors of air pollution sources); (ii) the implementation of cap-and-trade system at national or local levels; (iii) subsidies for air pollution reduction or prevention efforts; and (iv) mandatory security to be placed by businesses identified as significant sources of pollution harmful to air quality or public health. Penalties: The environmental law principle of “polluter-pays” has been incorporated into the Bill, imposing civil penalties for non-compliance and mandating compensation to rectify the consequences arising from the non-compliance. Fines and imprisonment will be imposed on owners or possessors of pollution sources. The Bill adopts a strict liability principle for cross-border pollution, presuming owners or possessors of pollution sources outside the country to be accountable for air pollution within Thailand, subjecting them to substantial fines. With active and ongoing refinement of this Bill, the path to clean air in Thailand is within reach, promising a brighter and healthier future for generations to come. between the Bill and existing legislation, the Bill asserts its supremacy. In cases where existing laws or regulations set air pollution standards or measures that are less stringent than those prescribed by the Bill, the Bill’s provisions will take precedence. Control Mechanisms: The Bill proposes specific measures and management methods for four categories of air pollution sources, namely permanent pollution sources, open burning, vehicle pollution, and cross-border pollution. Nuanporn Wechsuwanarux Partner E: Chandler MHM W: