Thailand - Country Commercial Guide
Energy

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country.  Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2021-08-15

Overview

The energy and electricity sector in Thailand is governed by the Ministry of Energy and involves multiple agencies: Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency (DEDE), Department of Energy Business, Energy Policy and Planning Office (EPPO), Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT), Metropolitan Electricity Authority (MEA), Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA), Petroleum Institute of Thailand (PTIT), and PTT Public Co., Ltd.

Thailand is ranked third in the region after Vietnam and Indonesia in terms of electricity generation and fourth in terms of electricity generation per capita. The total installed capacity in Thailand is around 49 gigawatts generated by a mix of EGAT, independent power producers (IPPs), small power producers (SPPs), very small power producers (VSPPs), and imports. Renewable energy installed capacity is around 11 gigawatts (nearly 23%) of the total installed capacity. Thailand has renewed its focus on developing renewable energy to meet rising energy demand and declining natural gas reserves. Several initiatives have been planned across all the renewable energy sectors.

To sustain growing demand, in the next twenty years, the Royal Thai Government plans to gradually increase electricity generation capacity under Thailand’s new integrated National Energy Plan (NEP) 2022. The plan is scheduled to be submitted for the Cabinet’s approval by the early 4th quarter of 2021 under the concept of “Go Green with energy security and competitiveness for sustainable energy future” and could potentially lead to $4.2 billion in investment in the country. The NEP 2022 will provide the development policy direction in the energy sector for both government agencies and private companies. The NEP 2022 will combine and synchronize the five action plans, namely the draft Gas Plan 2018, Power Development Plan (PDP) 2018 Revision (Rev.) 1, draft Alternative Energy Development Plan (AEDP) 2018, Oil Plan 2018, and draft Energy Efficiency Plan (EEP) 2018.

The PDP 2018 Revision 1 (2018-2037) aims to increase generating capacity from 46,090 megawatts to 77,211 megawatts by 2037. This will be accomplished mainly through power plant construction and power purchases from IPPs, as well as the use of renewable energy. Out of 46,090 megawatts of operational electricity capacity at the end of 2017, Thailand plans to retire 25,310 megawatts during the operational period of PDP 2018. This means, by the target year of 2037, Thailand must add 56,431 megawatts of new capacity to the current deployment. Of the target additions, approximately 33 percent or 25,086 megawatts will comprise renewable energy by 2037.

Both the PDP 2018 Rev. 1 and the AEDP 2018 initiative create market opportunities for electric power generation equipment using conventional fossil fuels, renewables, and alternative energy. In addition, Thailand will focus on smart grid infrastructure network development. Moreover, the PDP 2018 Rev. 1 focuses on increasing the use of renewable energy and reducing reliance on fossil fuels such as natural gas and aims to reduce the electricity produced from coal to 11 percent and to reduce carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) under the Conference of Parties (COP21) agreement or Paris Agreement to 271 kgCO2/kWh (or 99.712 million tonnes) by 2037. If all moves as planned by 2037, 36 percent of electrical energy production will be derived from sources other than fossil fuels, including hydropower (9%), renewable energy (21%), and energy conservation (6%).

Thailand has a high potential of refocusing its energy mix toward renewable sources. With high solar irradiation and an abundance of bioenergy potential, renewable energy is projected to be 21 percent of the total energy production and more than 30 percent of the installed capacity mix by 2037. The country also has a high potential for biopower, arising from an abundance of feedstock resources for biomass, biogas, and biofuels. The energy experts anticipate that these energy sources will see rapid growth and support from the government to power the renewable energy transition. Regarding the new renewable energy capacity, there are four significant renewable energy targeted efforts: solar, biomass, EGAT hydro-floating solar, and community power plant by biogas, biomass at 8,740, 2,780, 2,725, and 2,453 megawatts, respectively.

Thailand is currently carrying out pilot projects for the development of an advanced grid system to better manage the grid with the introduction of renewables. The private sector is also pursuing opportunities to develop projects with battery energy storage system (BESS) technologies. The government is actively seeking new policy initiatives to allow households to generate and store electricity and then sell excess electricity back to the grid. With this effort, the development of pilot smart cities is being considered to evaluate the potential of expanding this structure nationwide.

To conventional sources of energy (as Thailand’s domestic gas reserves will likely dry up in the next ten to 20 years), liquefied natural gas (LNG) will play an important role in ensuring mid-term electricity security. With approximately 60 percent of electric power in Thailand currently generated from local natural gas, diversification of the energy supply is seen as a necessary step towards enhanced national energy security. The government is importing more natural gas and is expanding gas receiving terminals, the regasification system, and gas storage tanks to increase capacity to 34.8 million metric tons per year by 2027.

Although the growth of energy and electric power demand in Thailand has slowed due to the global economic downturn and the pandemic impact, the power sector remains relatively attractive. The Thai market continues to demand electric power generation equipment using various types of fuels. The energy industry is important to Thailand as the country strives to achieve economic growth while maintaining energy security with a minimum of 20 percent in power reserves.

Leading Sub-Sectors

  • Renewable energy equipment
  • Electrical power systems
  • Operation and maintenance service
  • Smart grids/microgrids
  • Energy storage system: battery energy storage system (BESS)
  • LNG supply and related

Major buyers include government-owned electric power authorities, including the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT), the Metropolitan Electricity Authority (MEA), the Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA), private power producers (IPPs, SPPs, VSPPs), and industrial estate developers.

Opportunities

Thailand is on a path of energy transformation. The country needs to adapt to new technologies in the energy sector, and energy efficiency is not only for large corporations anymore. According to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Energy, the following developments will lead to disruption in the energy sector: digitalization, decarbonization, decentralization, deregulation, and electrification. Three main themes for energy in Thailand are:

  1. Energy for All Scheme: The Ministry of Energy was instructed to formulate an “Energy for all” policy to support the public as well as raise the level of the country’s competitiveness. The PDP 2018 Rev. 1 has raised the proportion of renewable energy such as solar, biogas, and biomass through community power plants. The NEPC has approved the purchase of 700 megawatts of renewable-based power generation by 2021. The overall target under the scheme is around 1,000 megawatts by 2022. Thailand’s power lines will be upgraded from 115kv to 500kv or 800kv to support alternative power and reach communities that produce them.
  2. Power Trade Hub of Southeast Asia: Thailand aims to be the power trading hub in Southeast Asia by improving high-voltage transmission lines across the country to open regional power trading and sales of surplus electricity. The improvement of the transmission lines, part of digitization, targets support of grid connections in Southeast Asia.
  3. Regional LNG Trading Hub: The Ministry of Energy has been pushing forward a plan to promote Thailand as a free trade hub for LNG since 2016. To support Thailand as a regional LNG trading hub, the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand had signed an agreement worth $1.33 billion with the Gulf MPT LNG Terminal Company selected to build the country’s third LNG import terminal. Commercial operations are slated to begin by 2025. From the Department of Mineral Fuels, Thailand also plans for one FSRU, which will have a capacity of 2 million metric tons per annum and will come online in 2028.

Thailand offers promising market opportunities for U.S. suppliers and exporters of oil and gas, electrical power systems, and energy equipment. The National Energy Plan (NEP) 2022 will play a significant part in Thailand’s energy market by making fuel electricity more acceptable to the public and reducing environmental impacts. U.S. companies could potentially play major roles in these efforts as advanced know-how and technology suppliers.

Table: Thailand’s Overall Energy Sector Equipment (Millions USD)

 

2018

2019

2020

2021 (estimated)

Total Market Size

6,867

8,161

8,569

8,850

Total Local Production

4,712

5,102

5,488

5707

Total Export

3,784

3,946

3,973

4,052

Total Import

5,939

7,005

7,054

7,195

Import from the U.S.

359

455

486

490

Exchange Rate: 1USD

31

31

31

31

(total market size = (total local production + total import)-total exports)

Data Source: The Thai Customs Department (HS Code: 7304, 7305, 7306, 7311, 8413, 8419, 8421, 8428, 8430, 8431, 8479 8481, 9026, 8705, 8901, 8905)