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Thailand Country Report

Thailand Country Report

Thailand: Energy Outlook and the Contribution of JGSEE

Bundit Fungtammasan
The Joint Graduate School of Energy and Environment (JGSEE) and Center for Energy Technology and Environment (CEE), King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, Bangkok, Thailand
Corresponding Author. Tel: (662) 470 8004, Fax: (662) 872 9087, E-mail: bundit.* (replace * with @)


The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the current status of energy supply and consumption situation in Thailand and its future energy outlook, based on the major energy plans: the 10-year Alternative Energy Development Plan, the 20-year Energy Efficiency Development Plan, and the 20-year Power Development Plan. The outlook for renewable energy deployment is promising, as the government has set a target to dramatically the share of renewable energy to 25% of total energy consumption by 2021. Renewable energy is also expected to contribute up to 10% of electricity generation by 2030. Energy efficiency improvements in the industrial, residential and commercial, and transport sectors are to reduce Thailand’s energy intensity by 25% by 2030, with 2010 as the base year. JGSEE’s research in the areas of bioenergy and biofuels, building energy, and energy and environmental policy has had and will continue to have significant impact to Thailand’s sustainable energy development policies and plans.


1.1 Primary Energy Supply
In 2011 Thailand’s total primary energy supply (TPES) amounted to about 128 Mtoe (million tons of oil equivalent), or 3.0% higher than previous year. The increase is moderate in comparison to the annual average growth of 4.4% over the period 2006-2010, due to serious flooding which affected energy consumption in both households and industry. Up to 43% of the TPES in 2011 was imported. As shown in Table 1, fossil fuels dominate the share of TPES at about 80.9 %, comprising oil, natural gas and coal at 36.5%, 32.6%, and 11.8% respectively. The share of low carbon energy consists of 2% hydro, 16.2% renewables (for heat and power), and 0.7% biofuels [1].

Table 2 shows the type and share of renewable energy supply. 68% of the total renewable energy supply (or 11% of TPES) is “traditional renewables” in rural households and cottage industry sector, the balance (5.2% of TPES) being “new renewables” for the commercial production of heat and power. Traditional renewables consist primarily of fuel wood, or 83% of total; while new renewables are dominated by bagasse (66.6%) followed by agricultural wastes (17%) [1]. It should be noted that the contribution of solar and wind energy to TPES, though increasing at a rapid pace, is not yet significant. The supply of biofuels, which grew by 3.6 fold over the past five years, is composed of 62% biodiesel and 38% ethanol in 2011. It represents 3.4% of fuel consumption in the transport sector.

1.2 Energy Consumption Pattern
Total final energy consumption (TFEC) in Thailand amounted to 70 Mtoe in 2011. The share of the transport sector is the highest at 36.1% due to heavy dependence on road transport (79% of total), followed by the manufacturing sector at 35.2%. Final energy consumption in the residential and commercial sectors combined accounts for 23% of total. However in terms of primary energy consumption, the share of these two sectors – due to their high percentage of electricity consumption - would be comparable to the transport and manufacturing sectors.

1.3 Electricity Supply and Consumption
In 2011 the national grid installed capacity was 31.8 GW, generating a total of 151.5 TWh of electricity. With an import of 10.8 TWh, the grid electricity supply totaled 162.3 TWh. The energy source mix for electricity generation is dominated by natural gas (71.5% of total), with coal accounting for 20.9%, fuel oil and diesel 0.9%, and hydro 5.2%. Renewable energy contributed less than 1.5% of total generation [2]. Electricity consumption totaled 148.6 TWh. The largest consumer is the industrial sector (42.7%), followed by the commercial sector (34.3%) and residential sector (22.1%) [1].

1.4 Energy Reserves
Thailand’s indigenous oil reserve is quite small. As of December 2011, the total crude oil reserve was 801 million barrels (mbl) (214 proven, 383 probable, and 210 possible), and the condensate reserve 671 mbl (239 proven, 306 probable, and 126 possible). The production in 2011 was 51 mbl crude oil and 31 mbl condensate. The natural gas reserve was 27,424 billion cubic feet (bcf), comprising 10,061 bcf proven, 10,793 probable, and 6,570 possible [1]. The production in 2011 stood at 1,307 bcf. The (proved) reserves-to-production ratio (R/P) is only 7.7 years. However, if the probable reserve is also included, the ratio becomes 16 years. The total import of natural gas was 334 bcf, or 20% of total. In 2011 Thailand began to import LNG, amounting to 35.8 bcf. The coal reserves consist primarily of low quality lignite, with a total reserve of 2,075 million tons. The production in 2011 was 21.3 million tons. The measured geological potential of oil shale is estimated at 1,050 tons. The estimated potential of hydropower is 26,440 MW, 15,110 MW of which being indigenous, with the balance in international waters, particularly the Mekong River.
Several attempts have been made in recent years to assess the resource potential of renewable energy in Thailand by different investigators using varied definitions and methodologies. The result is a set of rather inconsistent potential estimates for different type of renewable energy. An example is reported by the Department of Alternative Energy Efficiency (DEDE) [3], which shows very large potential for solar energy and solid biomass. Further refinement is called for, particularly biofuels and wind energy.


From 2010 to 2030, in tandem with economic growth, Thailand’s final energy demand is projected to grow by 4.2% annually, from 72 to 163 Mtoe, or about 2.3 times in a business-as-usual scenario. The demand for electricity is projected to grow at 3.8% per annum from 164 TWh to 347 TWh, or just about double. To meet the rising energy and electricity demand and to address the CO2 mitigation issue, the Thai government introduced three major energy plans for the next 10-20 years. The essence of these plans is summarized below.

2.1 Alternative Energy Development Plan (AEDP)
Alternative Energy Development Plan (AEDP) was first introduces in 2008 as a 15-year plan setting out targets for the development and deployment of different types of renewable energy. In 2012, this plan was revised as a 10-year plan for 2012-2021. The AEDP targets to dramatically increase the share of renewable energy consumption to 25% of projected final energy consumption in 2021, or 25 Mtoe, up from 12% by 2022 in the superseded 15-year plan [4]. The targets for electricity, heat and biofuels for different types of renewable energy are shown in Table 4. More than half of the renewable electricity, which is targeted to contribute about 3,353 ktoe or 10% of total electricity consumption, is expected to be generated from biomass. In terms of installed capacity, the targeted contribution of each type of renewable energy is shown in table 5 against current deployment. While the total capacity is set to increase by more than four fold from about 2,100 MW to 9,200 MW, installations of solar and wind are expected to jump several fold from less than 100 MW to 2,000 and 1,200 MW respectively. The most ambitious target is biofuels, which is expected to contribute up to 40% of transport fuel consumption, or 12,312 ktoe. It should also be noted that more than 60% of the biofuels is to be supplied by advanced biofuels, such as biomass-to-liquid and cellulosic ethanol, for which the commercialization of pertinent technologies needs to hastened in the coming years.

2.2 Energy Efficiency Development Plan (EEDP)
Introduced in 2011, the 20-year Energy Efficiency Development Plan (EEDP) aims to reduce Thailand’s energy intensity (energy consumption per GDP) by 25% by 2030, with 2010 as the base year. This would amount to a reduction in energy demand of about 38 Mtoe, or 23% of the projected total final energy demand in 2030 in the business-as-usual scenario. Much of the targeted energy saving will be in the industry and transport sector, i.e. 42% and 40% of the total expected reduction in final energy demand respectively [5]. However in terms of primary energy consumption, the savings required in the commercial and residential sectors could be more than 30%, as these two sectors consume more than half of the country’s electricity.

2.3 Power Development Plan (PDP)
The Power Development Plan (PDP) sets the target for electricity generation up to 2030 and the required types and timing of power plant installations. The most recent PDP, introduced in 2010 and revised in 2012 following the Fukushima incident, aims to add 55 GW of new generating capacities to the national grid by 2030, so that the total installed capacity would amount to about 71 GW. The expected fuel mix for electricity generation in 2030 is shown in Table 6. About half of the total expected electricity demand of 347 TWh will be generated by natural gas, while nuclear power is expected to contribute 5% with 2 plants at 1,000 MW each. Renewable energy is to contribute 10% of total generation [6].


The Joint Graduate School of Energy and Environment (JGSEE) is a Center of Excellence in Energy Technology and Environment (CEE) supported by the Office of Higher Education Commission, Ministry of Education, with complementary support by the Ministry of Energy through the Energy Conservation Promotion Fund. It operates as a consortium of graduate education and research involving five universities, led by King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi. The consortium partners include: King Mongkut’s University of Technology North Bangkok. Chaing Mai University, Prince of Songkla University, and Sirindhorn International Institute of Technology. The school offers international master and doctorate programs and conduct research into three main areas: energy technology, environmental and climate science, and energy and environmental policy. The purpose is to addresses Thailand’s sustainable energy development and deployment issues, including environmental protection and climate change mitigation. The research focus in shown each area is shown in Table 8 and a brief description of current research activities related to energy technology and policy is given in the following sections.

3.1 Bioenergy and Biofuels
Driven by JGSEE’s Advanced Fuel Processing Laboratory and NSTDA-JGSEE Biorefinery Lab, as well as other related laboratories within the JGSEE Consortium, this research focus aims to address issues related to the economical and sustainable utilization of biomass, waste and biogas, particularly as heat and power, and transport fuels.
The scope of this research focus thus covers the following:

Fuel characterization, pretreatment and processing.
Efficient and clean conversion of biomass to heat and power through combustion, pyrolysis and gasification.
Waste–to-energy via thermo-chemical and biological processes.
Biogas production and utilization from wastewater, and cellulosic materials.
Biofuel conversion from food and non-food feedstock, and biofuel utilization.

Examples of current research topics include:

Biomass upgrading, such as torrefaction, and production of high grade carbonaceous materials/fuels from lignite and biomass by degradative solvent extraction.
Fluidized bed gasification of biomass, co-gasification of biomass-biomass and biomass-waste, and tar removal.
Circulating fluidized bed (CFB) co-firing of coal and biomass.
Fouling and its prevention in biomass combustion.
Pretreatment of lignocellulosic biomass for ethanol production using hot-compressed water, and other treatments, as well as fractionation of lignocellulosic biomass.
Alternative approach for the production of furans and acids from lignocellulosic biomass.
Characterization of biodiesel and blended fuel sprays.

3.2 Building Energy Science and Technology
This research focus is contributed primarily by JGSEE’s Building Energy Science and Technology Laboratory, which conducts research on low energy buildings that will support implementation of energy conservation programs for buildings in Thailand and countries in the regional with similar climatic conditions. The research scope include:
Air conditioning systems

  • Comparative performance and cost effectiveness of external shading, shading between two glass panes, and internal shading of solar radiation and daylighting through building facades
  • Daylighting through various light pipe configurations; daylighting and electric lighting and overall lighting quality of a space, including intensity distribution of luminaires comprising LEDs and other devices
  • Research to spport development and upgrading of building energy labeling program that incorporates ements higher than the code requirements and that utilizes results from the two themes above
  • Application of radiant cooling in residential and commercial buildings
    Application of solar cooling and solar dehumidification

3.3 Energy and Environmental Policy
This research focus is contributed mainly by JGSEE’s Energy and Environmental Policy Laboratory and the Life Cycle and Sustainability Assessment Laboratory. The objective is to conduct policy relevant studies and develop tools to support public agencies and corporations in decision-making and formulating strategies and plans, for the development and deployment of energy and environmental technology options and measures, which would lead to sustainable economic growth and development. The research scope include:

  • Technology assessment and policy analysis and design for effective development and deployment of energy efficiency technologies and measures, renewable energy and other low carbon technologies (e.g. carbon capture and sequestration)
  • Scenarios for future energy supply and demand, and pathways towards a secure and low-carbon energy system, as well as a low-carbon society
  • Energy-security related issues, energy pricing, cost of low carbon energy and GHG-mitigation options and measures, as well as their implications on the low carbon economy
  • Studies relevant to the formulation of policy and strategies for national and regional cooperation in energy, environment and climate change issues
  • Life cycle and sustainability assessment of different energy systems and biofuels, including the food and biofuel nexus

Examples of current research topics:

  • Development of Thailand’s R&D roadmap for energy efficiency and renewable energy
  • Assessment of potential for the application of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology in Thailand
  • Scenario study of GHG emissions and mitigation by using macro-economic tools
  • Analysis of Thailand’s electric power supply security under present energy options and future alternative options
  • Feasibility study of using the idle-stop devices for urban transport
  • Studies to promote energy efficiency cooperation in the ASEAN Economic Community
  • Life cycle and sustainability assessment of different energy systems and biofuels, including carbon foot printing and energy-water nexus


Research completed or being conducted at JGSEE has been able support Thailand’s policy-making and planning in a number of areas. Of particular significance are the following:

  • The setting of Thailand’s long-term (20-year) energy efficiency target and plan which has been endorsed by the Thai Government
  • Authoring Thailand’s greenhouse gas inventory report, which serves as a basis for Thailand’s national communication to the UNFCCC
  • Preliminary assessments on the potential for application of carbon capture and storage technology in Thailand
  • Development of research and development master plans for renewable energy and energy efficiency
  • Development of building energy code
  • A knowledge base in life cycle greenhouse gas and energy balance of major biofuels and bioenergy systems
  • Scaling up of biomass gasification plants for thermal application in collaboration with a major industry partner


[1] Department of Alternative Energy Development and Energy Efficiency (DEDE) (2012) Thailand Energy Situation 2011, Annual Report, Bangkok, Thailand.

[2] Energy Policy and Planning Office (EPPO) (2012) Thailand Energy Statistics, (
[3] Department of Alternative Energy Development and Energy Efficiency (DEDE) (2012) Thailand Alternative Energy Situation 2011, Bangkok, Thailand
[4] Department of Alternative Energy Development and Energy Efficiency (DEDE) (2012) Alternative Energy Development Plan (2012-2021), Bangkok, Thailand
[5] Energy Policy and Planning Office (EPPO) (2012) Energy Efficiency Development Plan (2011-2030), Bangkok, Thailand
[6] Energy Policy and Planning Office (EPPO) (2012) Power Development Plan 2010, Revision 3, Bangkok, Thailand