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Thailand: Digital Transformation Empowering Rural Communities

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Empowering Rural CommunitiesIn a development journey for rural communities in Thailand, the National Energy Technology Centre (ENTEC) has hosted a meeting to discuss the outcomes and future trajectory of an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) project aimed at fostering lifelong learning. The project, which mainly focuses on rural areas, is set to revolutionise the energy sector and enhance the quality of life for inhabitants in these regions.

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Chaired by Prof Dr Pairash Thajchayapong, Board Member and Secretary-General of the Information Technology Foundation under the Royal Patronage—a foundation of the Thai royal family—the meeting brought together key figures in the energy sector, including Dr Sumittra Charojrochkul, Executive Director of ENTEC, and Dr Pradit Fuangfoo, Assistant Governor of the Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA). The gathering also included Dr Aswin Hongsingthong, a researcher and project leader, along with the ENTEC Solar Photovoltaic Research Team.

The primary focus of the meeting was to review the progress made in the implementation of the ICT project’s Phase 1, which specifically targets the maintenance of electricity production and metering systems in rural areas. The project aims to bridge the technological gap in these communities, ensuring a consistent and reliable energy supply.

One of the significant highlights of the meeting was the announcement of a substantial funding injection, aligning with the royal initiative for the long-term benefit of rural communities. This financial support will play a crucial role in advancing the project’s activities, particularly those related to the maintenance of solar power production and metering systems, marking the commencement of Phase 2.

The ICT project’s emphasis on lifelong learning in rural areas is noteworthy, as it aims to empower local communities with the knowledge and skills necessary to sustain and optimise their energy infrastructure. This aligns seamlessly with the broader national agenda of promoting education and digital literacy in remote regions.

Dr Sumittra Charojrochkul, Executive Director of ENTEC, expressed optimism about the potential impact of the project, stating, “The convergence of digital technology and energy solutions holds promise for rural communities. Through this initiative, we not only address the immediate challenges in electricity production but also empower the residents with the knowledge to become active participants in the sustainable development of their regions.”

Dr Pradit Fuangfoo, Assistant Governor of PEA, highlighted the collaborative nature of the project, emphasising the importance of partnerships between governmental bodies, research institutions, and technology experts. He said, “This collaborative effort reflects a commitment to leveraging digital technology for the betterment of rural lives. The funding support will significantly enhance our capabilities to bring about positive changes in these communities.”

Phase 2 of the project is expected to usher in a new era of technological advancements in rural areas. The focus on solar power production and metering systems underscores the commitment to sustainable energy practices, aligning with global efforts to combat climate change. The infusion of funds ensures that the project can scale its operations, reach a broader audience, and make a more substantial impact on rural electrification.

Dr Aswin Hongsingthong, the Researcher and Project Leader, emphasised the transformative potential of the project, stating, “The integration of solar power and digital technology is a game-changer for rural communities. It not only brings economic benefits through sustainable energy but also opens up new avenues for education and skill development, contributing to the overall socio-economic growth of these regions.”

The ICT project spearheaded by ENTEC, in collaboration with PEA and other stakeholders, stands as a beacon of progress in the intersection of digital technology and energy solutions. The infusion of funding and the commencement of Phase 2 signifies a significant step forward in realising the vision of empowered, self-sufficient, and technologically literate rural communities. As Thailand embraces the digital age, these initiatives are poised to bridge the urban-rural divide, creating a more inclusive and sustainable future for all.


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