Expanding electricity capacity in Thailand to meet the twin challenges of supply security and environmental protection
Rapid growth in electricity demand in Thailand is a major challenge for electric utilities trying to ensure adequate supply. Continued reliance on natural gas for power supply makes the supply mix nondiversified and exposes the country to supply risks while a diversification to other fossil fuels imposes additional environmental burdens. To find an acceptable solution to this twin challenge, this paper assesses four scenarios of electricity capacity expansion planning for Thailand for the period between 2011 and 2025 under two different assumptions of fuel prices to reflect the case of international high oil price affecting cost of fuels for power generation in Thailand. It is found that the lowest environmental emissions are obtained from the scenario where power generation is highly dominated by natural gas. In contrast, the least cost electricity generation is achieved from the case if nuclear power plant is added into the Thai power system. Reliance on natural gas for power generation increases the spending on gas purchase as a share of the gross domestic product (GDP)—between 2.38% and 3.61% of (GDP). In addition, fuel import dependence, particularly for natural gas and coal, increases exposing the country to possible price volatility.
Citation : Nakawiro, T., Bhattacharyya, S.C. and Limmeechokchai, B. (2008) Expanding electricity capacity in Thailand to meet the twin challenges of supply security and environmental protection. Energy Policy, 36 (6), pp. 2265-2278
ISSN : 0301-4215
Research Group : Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development
Research Institute : Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development (IESD)
Peer Reviewed : Yes