Thailand relies significantly on energy imports, especially from crude oil and coal. Considerable natural gas resources are available domestically and used as the main source of power generation (almost 70% of total electricity generation). However, as around 50% of natural gas demand is imported, it raises concerns about the security of supply.

The main driver for Thailand’s energy policy is to diversify energy mix ensuring the security of energy supply. Thailand’s Ministry of Energy has developed the Thailand Integrated Energy Blueprint (TIEB), in which five energy master plans are reviewed for the period 2015 – 2036, in consistent with the national economic and social development plan. The five master plans are: The Power Development Plan (PDP), The Energy Efficiency Development Plan (EEDP), The Alternative Energy Development Plan (AEDP), The Oil Development Plan and The Gas Development Plan.

The AEDP 2015 was developed with the focus on promoting energy production within the full potential of domestic renewable energy resources and developing appropriate renewable energy production in consideration to the benefit in social and environmental dimensions in the community.

Other relevant bodies include: National Energy Policy Committee (NEPC) that operates at ministerial level, Energy Policy and Planning Office (EPPO) – a national agency responsible for policy formulation, and Department of Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency (DEDE) aiming at promoting and supporting sustainable energy production and consumption.

Conventional fuel contributes a significant share to Thailand’s final energy consumption as shown in Figure 1 (Thailand’s Final Energy Consumption (2017)). Petroleum products, imported and domestically refined, are consumed mainly in the transportation sector and some industrial processes. Natural gas and coal are the main energy sources for electricity generation. The government has tried to promote utilization of natural gas in transportation sector to replace the costly petroleum. The other RE sources such as solar (396 ktoe), wind (95 ktoe), biomass (7,970 ktoe), biogas (780 ktoe), and waste (150 ktoe) contribute to 6.58% (9,391 ktoe) in the energy mix.

Thailand's Final Energy Consumption in 2017 (%)

  • Oil & Petroleum (40,667 ktoe)
  • Natural Gas (11,826 ktoe)
  • Coal (9,129 ktoe)
  • Hydro (404 ktoe)
  • Traditional RE (5,313 ktoe)
  • Bioefuel (1,938 ktoe)
  • Other RE (9,391 ktoe)
  • Imported Electricity (2,083 ktoe)

Source: Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency (DEDE). Thailand Energy Situation 2017

Although a large portion of electricity can be generated domestically, the electricity sector still relies on imported fossil fuels. Figure 2 summarizes the generation of electricity by source – 60.17% of electricity is generated from natural gas and around 18% from coal/lignite. An almost negligible portion of oil is used for electricity generation. At present, renewable energy sources (i.e. hydro, geothermal, wind, solar PV and bioenergy) already have a significant increase in the share with 9.76% from total electricity mix.

Thailand's Electricity Generation in 2017 (%)

  • Oil & Petroleum (330.3 GWh)
  • Natural Gas (121,0442 GWh)
  • Other RE (Hydro: 4,687 GWh, Other: 14,944 GWh)
  • Coal (35,732 GWh)
  • Imported Electricity (24,427 GWh)

Source: Thailand Energy Policy and Planning Office (EPPO)

Note: Most electricity imports come from Laos PDR which is generated by hydropower.

The electricity tariff in Thailand is regulated by ERC. There are eight different tariffs, charged according to the client type, consumption level or voltage level.

 

 Electricity Tariff in Thailand (effective per November 2015)

Source: PEA and MEA

Note: The exchange rate from Thai Bath (THB) to US-Dollar (USD) is 0.031 (as of December 2018)

 

Thailand’s electricity tariff is divided into three sectors: residential, commercial, and industrial (see Figure 3. For the residential sector, the tariff is set according to the consumption level [kWh] – the more electricity consumed, the more expensive the tariff. On the other hand, for commercial and industrial sectors, the tariff is determined according to the voltage level [V]. A user connected to a higher voltage level pays a cheaper tariff. For the industrial sector, the time of use also affects the tariff i.e. it is much more expensive during peak time than for off-peak usage. The tariffs consist of two components: i) base tariff, which is adjusted every year and ii) fuel adjustment value, adjusted every four months.

Importantly, electricity is subsidised for the lowest consumption households, with the aim of relieving the poorest part of the population. The subsidies cover either the whole or half of the tariff.

Thailand has very high rate of electrification. According to the ASEAN Centre of Energy (ACE), access to electricity rate in Thailand has reached 99.9% in 2018.

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