Thailand Moving From Fossil Fuels To Renewables

National Economy

The population of the Kingdom of Thailand is approximately 70.01 million people[1]. In 2019, 99.9 % of the people in this Southeast Asian country had access to electricity[2].

In 2019, Thailand’s economy was ranked 22nd in the world in gross domestic product (GDP)[3]. The country’s economy is dependent on the export[4] of office machines, cars, integrated circuits, trucks, gold, rubber, and rice.

Environment Policies

In 2016, Thailand signed the Paris Climate Agreement[5], committing to an unconditional 20% reduction in emissions by 2030, compared to business-as-usual levels.

In 2020, Thailand’s state-owned utility,  Metropolitan Electricity Authority used natural gas (61.6%), coal (20.0%),  renewable energy (18.0 %). and oil (0.4%) to generate the country’s electricity[6]. Hydropower, biomass, solar, and wind were the primary types of renewable energy used to generate electricity in Thailand.

Recent renewable energy projects in Thailand include:

  • 7 MW Floating Solar Project – In September 2021, People’s Republic of China solar company, Sungrow commissioned the floating solar project at the Sirindhorn dam in the northeast region of Thailand.
  • 25 MW Solar Projects – French energy company, Total is continuing work installing rooftop photovoltaic panels at 24 Betagro food processing plants in Thailand.
  • 6 MW Biomass Project – In March 2020, Finnish engineering firm, Pöyry commissioned the Chana biomass power project at a site in southeastern Thailand.
  • Lithium-Ion Battery Factory – In May 2021, American e-mobility company, Evlomo has announced plans to build a lithium-ion battery factory at a site approximately 50 miles southeast of the nation’s capital, Bangkok. The factory is forecast to be completed in 2023.

Conclusions

In 1973, Union Oil discovered a giant gas field in the Gulf of Thailand. This and subsequent offshore discoveries provided Thailand with significant, inexpensive natural gas reserves to fuel their electric power plants.

No fossil fuel (coal, oil, and natural gas) is renewable, and over the years Thailand’s natural gas reserves have steadily declined. In 2021, over half of Thailand’s fossil fuels are imported, which has undermined the nation’s economy. Thailand is now moving from natural gas and coal to renewable energy.

Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”

www.jackkerfoot.com

 

[1] Thailand Population (2021) –  September 18, 2021, www.worldometers.info

[2] Thailand – The World Bank Group

[3] Gross Domestic Product 2019 – World Bank DataBank

[4] OEC – Socialist Republic of Thailand

[5] Carbon Brief – “2015: Tracking Country Climate Pledges”

[6] Our World In Data, Thailand:  Energy Country Profile by Hanna Ritchie and Max Roser

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