Thailand aims to double RE production

Many of the kingdom’s energy outfits took part in the recent Asia Power Week Conference and Exhibition 2017 in Bangkok

Thailand aims to reduce the country’s dependence on imported energy, double the renewable energy (RE) production capacity or increase it to 30% of total energy production in 2036 and cut the greenhouse gas emission by 25%.

These are some of the ambitious plans outlined in the nation’s Alternative Energy Development Plan 2015-2036 under the care of its Energy Ministry.

“The achievement of these ambitious goals means the related parties have to double their capacities,” Thailand Vice Minister of Energy General Surasak Srisak said in the opening keynote address at the Asia Power Week Conference and Exhibition 2017 in Bangkok recently.

The event — held between Sept 18-21, comprising Power-Gen Asia and RE World Asia — attracted some 8,500 industry professionals from more than 75 countries attended.

Thailand’s electricity generating sector is considered to be one of the most secured businesses in the nation for private operators, given the long-term power purchase agreement with the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) which remains the major power supplier in Thailand, according to a recent research report by DBS Bank Ltd.

“Nonetheless, the new business opportunities appear to be limited due to the current excess capacity, while demand growth is slower than previously expected due to the slow ecoomic growth. The only bright spot in the sector is renewable power plants which have been promoted by the government to reduce the heavy reliance on fossil fuel, especially for gas, and to reduce the environmental impact,” the report added.

The report noted that the Thai power sector remains largely state-controlled industry in the whole value chain from generation to transmission and distribution, with EGAT featuring as the largest state-owned enterprise in the power industry value chain and acts as the key power generator and the sole operator of the national transmission network.

It added that Thailand has adopted the enhanced single-buyer structure for the power industry, with EGAT as the key buyer for electricity from other private-generating entities, including the foreign ones, mainly from Lao People’s Democratic Republic. EGAT also plays an important role in electricity generation with a total installed capacity of 16,067MW, accounting for 30% of total capacity of the country.

It purchases electricity from private operators under long-term power purchase agreements which could secure the power supply for the country.

EGAT deputy governor for renewable and new energy Saharath Boonpotipukdee was one of the key speakers at the Asia Power Week, along with Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Ltd president/CEO Kenji Ando and Indonesia’s PT Cirebon Energi Prasarana president director Heru Dewanto.

Among the other key participants from Thailand were the Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency, Energy Policy and Planning Office, the Energy Regulatory Commission, Provincial Electricity Authority, Metropolitan Electricity Authority and Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding pcl.

The speakers and participants brought years of experience to the floor. Take Saharath, for example, who after joining EGAT in 1982, has gathered 25 years of power plant engineering experience.

Some of the projects that he was involved in were the Mae Moh lignite-fired power project, Bang Pakong gas-fired project, Ratchaburi gas-fired power project, clean development mechanism on Lam Takhong wind turbine project, Sirindhorn solar photovoltaic project, the nuclear power development and preparation programme, and small fired hydropower projects.

In 1999, he set up the power plant engineering business unit to provide consultancy services to independent and small power producers.

The Asia Power Week event this year celebrated the 25th anniversary, a milestone for organiser PennWell Corp. The next Asia Power Week will take place on Sept 18-20, 2018, in Jakarta, Indonesia.

“For the third year in succession, Asia Power Week beat its registered attendance record, a clear indication that Asia continues to attract the attention of the international power generation industry players,” the organiser said in a statement.