Towards Net Zero Target with Clean Energy

SCG announced the long-term goal of achieving Net Zero emission by 2050 and near term target of reducing GHG Scope 1 and 2 emissions by at least 20% by 2030 compared with base year 2020, covering its business in Thailand and abroad. These goals align with national aspiration of Thailand and the international community to keep global temperature rise within 1.5 degrees Celsius to mitigate climate impact.

The concerted efforts are meant to prevent reaching disaster that is existential threat to humankind, businesses or any entity.

SCG has its roots in over 110 years of business operation and has survived countless rounds of socio economic crises domestically in Thailand and internationally. Through these, SCG has leant, adapted and shifted its business strategies to foster continuous growth and resilience alongside the society. Despite hardships brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, SCG persists with delivery of products and innovations in support of the society. However, coping with climate crisis impact is a challenge unprecedented.

Even the developed countries have faced the challenges and obstacles to phase out the fossil fuels and transition to clean energy. Due to long term fossil fuels usage since the Industrial Revolution in various activities from production, servicing, transport, logistics, consumption, all aspects are relied on fossil-generated energy. Yet still there is no other path clearer than clean energy use – solar, wind, biomass, biofuel. This is the answer to achieving net zero target. The challenges are about managing real-life hurdles and obstacles.

SCG has continuously studied and collected experience in clean energy for decades and as such it is clear to the enterprise that clean energy business is the pathway to drive and achieve critical mass, and multisectoral collaboration towards a low carbon society.

Clean Energy Focus Building Expertise from Within

From 2001 SCG started using alternative energy. The first effort is to turn scrap car tyres into fuel, and subsequently biomass development from agricultural wastes such as straw, sugarcane leaf, palm husk, paddy husk, alongside biogas brown water treatment, and turning waste-heat from industrial processes to produce electricity.

In 2012 SCG embarked on Refuse-derived Fuel (RDF) project using community-generated garbage as alternative fuels. Community-based waste separation plant and aggregation site are built to separate combustible rubbish and compress them into RDF to be used instead of coal for cement kiln.

Along the way, SCG has accumulated biomass knowledge and expertise. The latest undertaking is purchase of farm waste such as straw, sugarcane leaf, corn husk from areas around factories in multiple provinces as feedstock to make Energy Pellets for coal replacement.

Apart from boosting income for farmers, such farm waste management helps mitigate PM2.5 pollution arising from burning of agricultural wastes.

In 2016 SCG started adopting solar energy and advocating its use in SCG-owned factories across business units to speed up emissions cut and global warming mitigation. With Thailand’s potential in solar energy – high radiation intensity rate of 18.2 megajoule per square meter per day, solar energy is a more sensible path than wind energy which has more restrictions in terms of locations in Thailand.

SCG stepped up installation of solar farms in the vicinity of its factories. Subsequently it expanded into factory-rooftop installation of solar panels, as it continues to seek other options of unused space.

That is the discovery of surfaces in factory wells and reservoirs, giving rise to “floating solar farm” innovation. It was pioneered at SCG Site 3 reservoir in Rayong in 2018. SCG proprietary innovations include the solution of plastic buoys to support solar cell panels, made from durable plastic material that can withstand outdoor intense sunshine while effectively carrying and stabilizing the panels’ load. The innovation serves as model for more to come in other factories that typically have reservoir surface spaces. Development of each solar farm has its own unique characteristics and requires customized solutions.

That is why SCG has deepened and enhanced its solar energy expertise which continues until today in support of clean energy focus.

In 2022, SCG has developed and successfully installed bifacial solar cell panel. The top facade of a bifacial panel receives sunshine as usual whereas the lower part functions to absorb solar reflection from the ground, thereby adding a further 5-7% of electricity generation capability. Furthermore, the ground surface is paved by scrap materials from factory made according to Waste-to-Value principle to enhance reflection capability from ground to panel. AI technology is deployed to monitory the system’s performance, tracking errors and alerting maintenance needs for optimal efficiency. From the starting point to date, SCG has installed solar energy capacity totaling 120 megawatt, cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 57,077 ton CO2eq per year, in its continuous drive towards Net Zero goal by 2050.

Most important is the accumulation of knowledge, skill and expertise of SCG workforce who play important role in paving the way for SCG’s new business model.

Expanding Its Business to Solar Energy Solutions

Building on its expertise in installation and use of solar energy, from 2019 SCG expand business to provide solar rooftop solutions to residential buildings under a new business brand of “SCG Solar Roof Solutions.” It provides end-to-end solutions to customer, along with apps to monitor the system’s performance which generally helps save electricity bills by up to 60%. This is the business that popularizes the use of clean energy among wider public. The business has seen promising growth, particularly during COVID-19 pandemic when people spent more time homebound. At the same time, for industry-user segment, SCG has developed and offering SCGC Floating Solar Solutions, Thailand’s first end-to-end service starting from design, float production, installation, and maintenance. In 2018-2022, the brand has serviced and completed 54 projects inside and outside SCG, with total capacity to date of 55.1 megawatt, accounting for emissions cut of 38,000 ton CO2eq per year.

All these demonstrate SCG’s effort to scale up and introduce solar energy to the wider public, while adjusting its business models to accommodate and grow alongside the society’s demand to care more about the planet. And SCG remains firmly committed to driving clean energy growth.

Clean Energy Focus, Clean Energy Solutions for All

Fully equipped with knowledge and experience in renewable and clean energy, SCG made the investment decision to establish SCG Cleanergy Company Limited, to function as center of clean energy solutions to serve clients in Thailand and beyond.

On solar energy, it has experience in installation of solar cell, onshore solar farms, rooftop and floating, focusing on industry users, industry estate, and the government, as well as Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT).

SCG Cleanergy’s strength is in its ability to find and customize solutions that are most suitable to individual customers. Its end-to-end approach starts from site survey and problem analysis to come up with joint solutions, construction supervision, operation and maintenance service.

The company is able to adapt formation, installation and energy distribution according to localized contexts. For example, if a factory has adequate rooftop space, solar rooftop solutions are easy. In case of limited rooftop space, a factory may opt to install solar cells in common space nearby such as floating solar farms at an industrial estate’s reservoir, with electricity outputs distributed via transmission line to factory. Or in case a client has two factories located close to each other, the first building needs power but limited rooftop space, whereas the second building has large rooftop space. Solar cells can be installed in the second building and outputs transmitted to the first building.

SCG Cleanergy has its back-office team to monitor energy generation system it installs for customers online, in aspects of efficiency, analysis and trouble shooting. Customers can also monitor performance real-time via applications on computer and smart phone.

At present, apart from those wishing to install solar power system for their own use, we see increasing needs for power producers to be connected and sell to the transmission grid.

SCG Cleanergy is thus developing an energy trading platform in collaboration with EGAT. The idea is to sell electricity into grid from one location to another without limitation of distance.

Operationally, this means a factory in one province can generate electricity and sell to another factory located in a different province.

Such energy trading among private power producers requires a management platform, with smart meter as another crucial component to check and disaggregate inputs into the system to determine whether they are from alternative source or grid source. Wind energy faces a different set of challenges from solar, chiefly windmill location must be far enough not to disturb community, and wind strength must be commercially viable for a project.

For now, SCG Cleanergy is developing projects to propose to the state, as well as seeking opportunities in the region such as in Vietnam, where the authority promotes offshore wind energy. Though Net Zero goal by 2050 remains three decades away, the path is fraught with challenges and obstacles.

SCG’s commitment to transition from fossil to clean energy, from the nascent stage of R&D and trial towards successful outcome and driving business units to increase renewables in their energy mix. It gives us hope and confidence that SCG as an organization will be able to adapt and advance, while fostering collaboration with all stakeholders in the public, private and civil society. To arrive at the most challenging milestone in the enterprise and the world’s history.