The development of renewable energy is essential for Thailand to reduce its dependence on fossil fuel imports, as gas-based thermal power generation accounted for nearly 61.3% of the country’s annual electricity production in 2021, according GlobalDataa leading data and analytics company.
The latest report from GlobalData, ‘Thailand Electricity Market Size, Trends, Regulations, Competitive Landscape and Forecast, 2022-2035’, reveals that depleted natural gas reserves and rising fuel import bills have become major challenges for Thailand. The country’s natural gas reserves are expected to decline sharply by 2030 if no new reserves are discovered.
Attaurrahman Ojindaram Sabasan, a Power Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “The Erawan field, Thailand’s largest gas field, is facing a production decline, mainly due to a dispute between Chevron and Thailand’s state-owned oil and gas company, PTT Exploration & Production (PTTEP), which took over field operations in April 2022. PTTEP’s lack of innovation is also a growing concern as gas deposits lie in small pockets in the Erawan field and hundreds of wells must be drilled every year to maintain production.
Due to a decline in supplies from the Gulf of Thailand, the share of domestic gas supply in Thailand fell from 64% to 40% in the first half of 2022, leading to an increase in imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG ), which, in turn, resulted in high electricity bills for end consumers.
In April 2022, the government reassured consumers that there would be no power shortages like those seen in Vietnam or Sri Lanka. However, Thailand’s Prime Minister has ordered the country to reduce its electricity consumption by 20% as a precautionary measure.
Saibasan continues, “The plan to meet demand through coal-based generation and imports creates a risky scenario for the country. While environmental activists have opposed the increased use of coal-fired electricity, electricity imports from neighboring countries, such as Malaysia and Laos, to meet growing demand may not be a solution. viable for the country in the long term given rising prices. fossil fuels. »
In its Power Development Plan (PDP), the government aims to increase the country’s electricity capacity from 46,090 MW in 2017 to 77,211 MW in 2037. The country aims to produce 53% of its electricity from natural gas, 35% from non-fossil sources. fuels and 12% of coal in 2037.
The government also announced that under the Feed in Tariff (FiT) mechanism, 282.92 MW of renewable energy capacity from small power producers (SPPs) and very small power producers (VSPPs) will be made. The electricity produced from these plants will be used to supply commercial users in 2025-2026.
Saibasan concludes: “While such measures are encouraging for the renewable energy industry, the government should seek to build its large-scale renewable capacity to overcome its reliance on thermal power and fossil fuel imports. . The country has a developed market for bioenergy and several solar photovoltaic projects are underway. The country should seek to capitalize on its strengths.
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