Thailand is a leader in Southeast Asian energy consumption, second only to Indonesia, with a particular appetite for fossil fuels. But one village nestled in the rural forest, far from the electricity grid, turned to clean energy to keep their community running. Along with using solar panels, the residents have perfected an unconventional way of powering their stoves: cow dung.

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Pa Deng is an off-the-grid village that saw its first spark of electricity when solar panels were installed ten years ago. They sought help from academics and traded their produce for education on how to maintain and repair the panels, and now one fifth of the village is hooked into the network.

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Taking things one step further, according to, one villager acted on a hunch from a friend that cow dung could be a better energy alternative to burning wood. Bio-gas balloons, fed with the dung and organic waste, create enough methane gas for the resident’s stoves. 100 residents now benefit from the balloons, which means they no longer have to search for kindling in the neighboring forest.

Pa Deng serves as an example of what is possible in a land where fossil fuels rule. Not every resident is on board with the clean energy initiatives, however, as some wish to be part of the government-funded grid, while others take what they have learned to other neighboring villages, leaving a cleaner footprint along the way.


Images via Pexels, Wikimedia