Bangkok - Floods in central Thailand caused by a week-long monsoon deluge have claimed at least 17 lives this week, caused 267 million dollars in damage and were threatening the capital, officials said Friday. Bangkok, a city of 10 million inhabitants, was preparing for possible flooding Sunday and Monday from the swollen Chao Phrya River which runs through the capital.

As they reach the city, the floodwaters were set to run into a surge of water coming up the river from high tides in the Gulf of Thailand, Irrigation Department officials said. Heavy rainfalls in the area at the same time could seriously compound the problem, experts warned. 'If they are lucky, there will not be more heavy rain coming down next week,' said Smith Dharmasaroja, chairman of the Foundation of Natural Disaster Warning Council.

Read more: Bangkok braced as Thailand's flood death toll hits 17


BANGKOK, THAILAND - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is lending up to B4.2 billion to The Bangchak Petroleum Company Public Company Limited (BCP) to build two solar power plants in central Thailand. The loan agreement was signed today in the Thai capital, Bangkok.

The 8-megawatt and 30-megawatt plants - due to be completed in Ayutthaya next year - will help the Thai government achieve its target of getting 20.4% of its primary commercial energy - or 5,608 megawatts of installed power - from renewable sources by 2022. Currently, renewable sources, including biomass, solar, and hydropower, only contribute 1,754 megawatts of energy.

Read more: ADB Signs Loan Agreement to Build Two Solar Power Plants in Thailand


Thailand offers a valuable insight into how a mid-size, free-market developing country can attempt to turn its renewable energy plans into a viable market reality.

Despite ambitious plans for the global development of the solar energy industry and the encouraging progress seen in 2009 and this year to date, over 90% of the world's 192 countries have yet to undertake large-scale solar deployment projects. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), just eight countries accounted for 89% of the world's total installed PV generating capacity of 15 GW in 2008.

Read more: Thailand's Solar Lessons for the World


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