Overview of Energy, Environment and Socio-Economic Factors

Thailand's Energy Sector

Thailand is the second largest economy in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and is categorised as a middle-income developing country. Since recovering from the Asian financial crisis in 1997, its economy has shown significant growth, rising to 224 billion USD in 2012 and growing on average at

4.07 % annually. Medium-term economic projections point to Thailand maintaining this growth rate (about 4 % annually), and one report ('Thailand Power Development Plan 2010', published by Ministry of Energy, Thailand) quotes a figure of 4.27 % for 2012–2030.

The population of Thailand expanded 2.4 times during 1960–2012 and reached 66.8 million in 2012. Two decades ago the average annual population growth rate dropped to 0.74 % and then to 0.46 % in the most recent decade. The urban population was reported as 34.4 % in 2012. Accompanying the expected gradual economic growth, infrastructure development, increased access to modern energy and high-income generation will lead to increased urbanisation in future; thus, the urban population is forecasted to rise to 60 % by 2050.

Primary Energy Supply and Final Energy Consumption

Behind Indonesia, Thailand is the second largest energy consumer in ASEAN and consumed over 70.5 Mtoe in 2011, amounting to just over 20 % of regional demand. Of this, 70 % was due to transport and industrial sectors, with the transport sector being the largest energy consumer in 2011 (25,466 ktoe), closely followed by the industrial sector (24,966 ktoe). The residential sector is the third (16,551 ktoe). Over the last two decades, the highest average annual growth rate in energy demand was recorded in the industrial sector at 6.78 %, followed by transport and residential sectors at 5.16 % and 3.1 %, respectively.

In terms of fuel mix, as shown in Fig. 6.2, petroleum products dominate the total final energy consumption (TFEC) at 47 %, followed by electricity at 18 %. The dependency on fossil fuels is significant, as petroleum products, coal and its products and natural gas amounted to 63 % of TFEC in 2011.

As regards total primary energy supply for the world, it doubled from 1973 to 2011. Figure 6.3 gives a comparison of fuel mix in 1973 and 2011. According to the figures, fossil fuels have maintained their dominance since the 1970s. Except for the increase in nuclear share, from 0.9 % in 1973 to 5.1 % in 2011, none of the non-fossil fuel shares exhibit significant increases, though some of them have higher incremental factors, such as solar PV and wind power. In addition, the contribution of oil to total primary energy supply (TPES) dropped from 46 to 31.5 %, whilst natural gas and coal increased to 21.3 % and 28.8 % in 2011, from 16 % and 24.6 % in 1973, respectively.

In 2011, TPES in Thailand was recorded at 127.9 Mtoe, whilst still only 0.97 % of the world and 8 % of Asia excluding China attained this figure due to an average annual growth rate of 6.74 % since 1990. As with the global statistics, oil has the major share in the fuel mix of TPES at just above 36 %, followed by natural gas at 32 % and biomass at 16.2 % in 2011. The natural gas share has grown considerably due to its increased use in power generation. On the other hand, growth in energy from coal has been restricted due to its environmental concerns in Thailand and had a share of about 12.3 % of TPES in 2011. However, the percentage for fossil fuels in TPES stood at about 85 % in 2011.

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