Thailand is looking at the issue of adequate energy supply to meet the growing demand for consumption in the future. It is giving a major boost to exploring and developing renewable and alternative energy sources, with greater emphasis on the development of domestic sources to reinforce energy security.
Head of the National Council for Peace and Order General Prayuth Chan-ocha said that, since Thailand could not rely solely on gas and oil for fuel sources, the use of renewable energy must be promoted and domestic production must be encouraged. The objectives are to reduce the burden from imports and conserve limited petroleum and gas resources.
He stressed the need to work out plans for energy use, so that there would be reserves for future consumption. In particular, urgent action must be taken to promote the use of alternative energy in all sectors and on a wide scale.
General Prayuth stated that Thailand needs to address the issue of energy security, as well. Today Thailand heavily depends on fuel imports from neighboring countries. It needs to assess the situation and prepare for any problems that may occur. Concerning investment policy, priority will be given to energy-saving technologies and the promotion of renewable energy sources, such as ethanol, biodiesel, biogas, biomass, and solar and wind energy.
Regarding energy prices, he explained that the issue needed to be considered systematically, together with all related costs and methods of price determination from the perspectives of producers, consumers, and domestic and international market conditions. This must not place excessive burden on the general public, or affect the national income structure.
Statistics compiled by the Ministry of Energy in 2012 show that 67.6 percent of fuel used for electricity generation in Thailand came from natural gas, 18.8 percent from coal, 4.9 percent from hydropower, 1.2 percent from biomass, 1.1 percent from bunker oil, 0.2 percent from diesel, and 6.1 percent from imports.
According to Thailand’s 10-year Alternative Energy Development Plan, 2012 to 2021, for sustainable economic development to be accomplished, building energy security in parallel is mandatory. Given this scenario, renewable energy development is one of the most important strategies.
In 2011, about 60 percent of the primary energy consumption in the commercial sector was from imported energy – particularly oil, the portion of which is as high as 80 percent of the total oil consumption in the country. It is only with a strong commitment to alternative energy development that dependence on imported fuel can be relaxed. Such a development would support more alternative energy sources for generating electricity.
Today, increasing the supply of alternative energy is obviously a vital goal, so that the country will be able to replace natural gas in power generation. Among these alternatives are solar power, wind turbine farms, small hydro plants, biomass, biogas, and waste.