Powered By Purpose – Rom Klao, Wind That Changes Lives
Published on 5th December 2019
President and CEO of Asia Pacific at Vestas
Vestas has always been at the forefront of the wind energy transition, not only from a technology standpoint but also in the regions in which we operate. In early 2018 Vestas took significant steps forward in continuing this journey by developing one of the largest wind farms in Thailand.
Working in the local community, the addition of the 45MW wind farm brought a new series of jobs and vocational training. In addition, the needs of the project required the first source of electricity be introduced to power the local village. The primary means of income in the area for generations had been within farming, forcing young people seeking other opportunities to travel to large cities to find employment. In many cases, this meant leaving family behind and spending the majority of their time in a strange new city. The addition of the Rom Klao wind farm in the region has allowed some young professionals to return home, providing them the chance to pursue new challenges and options for professional advancement while remaining close to their families.
The local GPP (gross provincial product) has also been stimulated through the small businesses that have popped up to support the wider needs of a more diverse economy. Local entrepreneurs have set up food shops to provide sustenance to the new stream of people brought in by the project, while others have put spare rooms up for rent to offer a haven to visitors in the area.
At Vestas, we are powered by the determination to support and inspire the local community in which our turbines operate. We continue to pursue a purpose beyond just the production of sustainable energy, we also look at how that need and production fits into a holistic community perspective. The obvious advantages of jobs and education are big selling points, but often the hidden benefits of these projects have ripple effects in the community. For example, often when wind farms are developed in more rural areas such as this project in Mukdahan, Northern Thailand the roads are not good enough for the turbine components to be transported, requiring more stable roads to be created. Even after the wind farm is completed these roads remain intact, creating an opportunity for more development in the region and further improvement of the local economy.
As renewable energy has increased over the years, the low wind shear in Thailand made it difficult for wind farms to thrive. However, the Rom Klao wind farm was comprised of the V136-3.45 MW turbine. Boasting a record-breaking hub height of 162 meters, this turbine is ideal for capturing maximum energy in the low wind conditions throughout Thailand.
In addition to the economic growth and social benefit of the project, the increased hub height not only efficiently utilises the wind shear available at higher altitudes, but it also allows local farmers to continue agricultural production without interference. Traditional local businesses can operate in harmony with advanced new technology.
To learn more about the Rom Klao wind farm and the residents that have helped make it a success, please watch the video below.