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Thailand (2014)

Extent of network:

Population access to electricity (2009, source: IEA): 99.3%The growth in rural electrification in Thailand was relatively low in the early 1970s. Only 7% of poorer households had access to electricity. In the 1980s, with the implementation of the long-term national master plan for rural electrification by the Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA), access to electricity in poor households had remarkably increased, and by 1988, reached 74%. Electricity access had improved further in the 1990s, and reached 98% in 2000. Access to electricity by the non-poor households had crossed the 90% level in the mid-1980s, and had reached more than 99% by 2000.High voltage transmission in the country operates at 500 kV. Thailand is connected with the power grids of Laos and Malaysia, with puchases totalling 1,288 MW from Laos and 300 MW from Malaysia in 2010.

Energy framework:

Renewable and Alternative Energy Development Plan (2012-2021)The Renewable and Alternative Energy Development Plan (2012–2021) sets the framework to increase the share of renewable and alternative energy to account for 25% of total energy consumption by 2021. This plan promotes the use of renewable energy (such as wind, solar, and biomass), especially for power and heat generation, and it supports the use of transport biofuels, including ethanol-blended gasoline (gasohol) and biodiesel.National Power Development Plan (PDP)The Electricity Authority of Thailand (EGAT) formulated a national power development plan for the period of 2010-2030, known as PDP 2010, within the framework of the Ministry of Energy’s policies. This PDP is dubbed the “green” PDP as it incorporates more green energy into the plan. It replaces the former PDP 2007 plan and its revisions. The plan was first approved by the National Energy Policy Council (NEPC) and the Cabinet in November, 2010. After the Fukushima NPP Accident, the plan has been revised twice. The third and current (as of March 2013) revision was approved by the Cabinet in June, 2012.The plans have been used as a guideline for planning the construction of EGAT’s new power plants, power purchase from independent power producers (IPPs), small power producers (SPPs) and neighbouring countries, as well as transmission system development to accommodate these new power capacities. According to the current revision of PDP 2010, the net additional capacity during 2012-2030 is 55,130 MW (this amount includes the additional capacity from new power plant projects and some power purchased from SPPs and VSPPs). When adding the net additional into the current installed capacity as of December 2011 and subtracting the capacity of retired power plant from the system, the total installed capacity becomes 70,686 MW in 2030.The strategies of PDP 2010 focused on:Security and adequacy of the power system, following the policies of the Ministry of Energy (MoEN) on environmental concerns;Promotion of energy efficiency and renewable energy to be in line with the Energy Efficiency Development Plan (EE Plan 2011-2030) and the Alternative Energy Development Plan (AEDP 2012 - 2021);Promotion of cogeneration systems for efficient electricity generation.Energy Efficiency Development Plan 2011–2030On the demand side, Thailand adopted a 20-year Energy Efficiency Development Plan 2011–2030, which aims to improve energy intensity by 25% in 2030 compared to the 2010 levels.Thailand Energy Efficiency Revolving Fund (TEERF)TEERF was established by the Government and managed by the Ministry of Energy, Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency (DEDE). The objective of the TEERF is to provide access to capital for energy efficiency projects, increase awareness of energy efficiency opportunities and improve procedures and implementation of the projects.Development and Promotion of Renewable Energy EntrepreneursIn 2010 The Energy Policy and Planning Office (EPPO) launched this program to endorse the building of large scale entrepreneurship in green technology, particularly on renewable energy. Principally, EPPO acts as a promoter and a facilitator for local entrepreneurs to invest in new technologies. Once the prototypes are ready, EPPO will support them on the expansion of technologies at a national level.

Renewable energy potential:

Renewable energy, on the other hand, could be an option to ensure energy security and reduce dependence on foreign energy resources. With relatively good solar irradiation and large domestic biomass resources, as well as high potentials for decentralised power production, there are still various opportunities for the country to achieve its renewable energy targets. The high number of applications for solar power projects under the feed-in tariff has indicated considerable interest of investors. Many jobs have already been created in the construction industry and in the agricultural/biomass sector.WindThere is considerable potential for wind energy on a larger scale in Thailand, especially in the centre and in the Western regions of the country. The wind current in Thailand is rather light, thus it has been frequently overlooked. Unlike large wind turbines manufactured for the European and U.S. markets; the country needs small-sized wind turbines to comply with local conditions. The present capacity of low speed wind turbines in Thailand is 400-1,000 watts. The two major obstacles in using such turbines is the cost per unit of electricity generation and the lack of investment in Thailand for the low speed turbines. However, Thailand does forecast a large increase in use in the near future as these issues will be overcome.BiofuelsSolid biomass and waste have played a strong role as an energy source in Thailand and comprise roughly 16% of energy consumption. Most biomass feedstock is from sugarcane, rice husk, bagasse, wood waste, and oil palm residue and is used in residential and manufacturing sectors. Thailand has promoted biomass for heat and electricity, though growth has been very gradual due to industry inefficiencies and environmental concerns.HydroThe government has been sponsoring development projects of small hydro power plants for a new planned capacity of 350 MW. The Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency (DEDE) and the Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA) are the main institutions involved with mini- and micro-hydro power plants. DEDE has also installed many village-level hydropower plants, and there is considerable potential for village-scale small hydro in east and central Thailand.SolarThe annual average daily solar radiation in Thailand is about 5.0 to 5.3 kWh/m2/day, corresponding to 18-19 MJ/m2/day. High values, of about 20-24 MJ/m2/day, are recorded during April and May. The north eastern and northern regions receive roughly 2,200 to 2,900 hours of sunshine per year (equivalent to 6-8 sunshine-hours per day). Thailand currently uses solar cells for electricity generation and solar thermal units for thermal..Local administration organizations in every province, municipalities, Provincial Administration Organizations (PAO), and Tambol (sub-district) Administration Organizations (TAO) are paying particular attention to solar cells as they are becoming increasingly important in rural remote areas, where there are no electricity transmission lines known as off-grid connections. The cells can undoubtedly be used for electricity generation for lighting systems on roads and energy for wastewater pumping in wastewater treatment systems.

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