October 9, 2011

Thailand energy policy: three-in-one master plan almost done

The government is about to complete the first national energy master plan, which will incorporate three existing energy-related plans.

Sittichod Wantawin, the director of energy conservation and renewable energy policy under the Energy Policy and Planning Office (EPPO), says the new energy development plan will incorporate the power development plan (PDP), the renewable energy development plan (REDP) and the energy conservation plan into a single development plan.

The new plan, to be completed over the next few months, will include a forecast of the country's oil and gas consumption.

Thailand's 20-year PDP for 2010-30 was subject to revision after the nuclear power programme was postponed in the wake of Japan's tsunami and subsequent radiation leaks.

A panel in charge of the PDP agreed in April to the Energy Ministry's proposal to delay by three years the kingdom's first two nuclear power plants, initially scheduled to begin operating in 2020.

The REDP, meanwhile, is being revised to match the government's new policy to increase renewable energy to 25% of the country's total energy consumption by 2022, up from the previous 20%.Thailand's first PDP was drafted in 1961, while energy conservation plans began in 1992 after the Energy Conservation Promotion Act was approved by the lower house. The REDP was approved by the cabinet in 2009.

According to Mr Sittichod, the new energy development plan will last for five years and be subject to revision or improvement after that, similar to how the National Economic and Social Development Plan was conceived.

EPPO director-general Suthep Liumsirijarern noted that Thailand has never had a single energy master plan. He said the move would make it easier for state agencies to see the complete picture of the country's energy-development direction and future power demand.

In another development, EPPO plans to approach the food and rubber industries to help develop biogas from waste in order to replace high-priced energy products.

Through the Energy Conservation Fund, EPPO has offered support to the industrial sector via grants since 2008. Up to now, 100 industrial operators have received grants totalling one billion baht. EPPO has set aside 2.8 billion baht in grants to support biogas projects.

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