On The Horizon - Renewable Energy in Asia: Thailand

1. What are the driving factors for increasing renewable energy production in Thailand?

Thailand relies heavily on energy imports due to its limited energy resources. In 2009, Thailand imported 84 percent of its crude oil, 49 percent of its coal, and 21 percent of its natural gas. Dwindling oil reserves and significant increases in oil prices in the world market have resulted in substantial loss in foreign exchange. Moreover, oil demand is projected to grow annually. Thailand’s demand for crude oil and oil products has steadily increased over the past two decades from a demand of more than 230,000 barrels per day in 1986 to 1.1 million barrels per day in 2009.

Oil demand is projected to grow annually at 3.9 percent, from 35 million tons of oil equivalent (MTOE) in 2002 to 103 MTOE in 2030, mainly driven by the transport and industry sectors. Net oil import dependency (the share of oil consumption in Thailand that is imported) is projected to increase from 89 percent in 2002 to 94 percent in 2030, as a result of increasing demand and declining domestic oil production. Increasing renewable energy production in Thailand would therefore improve self sufficiency, help save foreign exchange, and create security of supplies.

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