Thai energy demands to double in 25 years: study

Economy February 23, 2013 00:00

By The Nation

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Annual consumption growth of 2.6 per cent projected; Kingdom to stay net fuel importer

Thailand’s demand for final energy will double within the next 25 years if consumption continues at the current rate, and with its limited resources, the Kingdom will likely remain a net energy importer to meet its increasing demands, according to a forecast by the Asia Pacific Energy Research Centre. 

“Final energy” is that available to the user after conversion from primary energy sources such as petroleum, nuclear, wind or the sun. Electricity is a form of final energy.
APERC’s report, “Asia Pacific Energy Demand and Supply Outlook”, released yesterday, said demand would grow at an average annual rate of 2.6 per cent over the period, driven mainly by increased demand in the “other” sector (which covers residential, commercial and agricultural use) and in the non-energy sector. Demand in the “other” sector is expected to increase at an annual average of 3 per cent over the period, to 40 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) in 2035. 
“A large percentage of ‘other’ sector demand will be for electricity in the commercial sub-sector and for oil in the agricultural sub-sector,” the report said. “The likely increase in home-appliance ownership, and its impact on residential demand, varies between types of home appliance. In 2010, air-conditioners were owned by only 15.6 per cent of the households, which is a long way below saturation level. In comparison, television and fan ownership levels are much higher: 96 per cent of households own a television and 97 per cent own fans.” 
In 2035, industrial and non-energy-sector use together will account for 48 per cent of the total final energy demand, while transport will account for 27 per cent and “other” sector demand for 25 per cent. 
Thailand’s energy conservation and efficiency campaign through various measures, including building codes and minimum efficiency performance standards for appliances, is expected to moderate electricity demand in this sector.
The domestic transport sector’s energy demand will be affected by increasing vehicle numbers (which are still far below saturation level) and the increase in vehicle-kilometres travelled. Demand will be moderated by the gradual shift in transport modes in urban centres (to rapid-transit systems) and a modest increase in the use of biofuels and alternative vehicles. 
The light-vehicle fleet in Thailand will be more diverse by 2035. Hybrids and plug-in vehicles will account for 4 per cent of the fleet, while autos running on liquefied petroleum gas and natural gas for vehicles will account for 7 per cent.
Primary source 
High demand means Thailand, already a net energy importer, has to import more.
Even as Thailand prepares for a possible electricity crisis in April due to the halt in gas supply from Myanmar, APERC foresees greater long-term demand for natural gas here, especially for electricity generation. Natural gas will be the most rapidly growing primary energy source, at an annual average rate of 4.4 per cent per year from 2010 to 2035.
“Thailand’s limited gas production will require the economy to increase its gas imports almost fourfold from 7.5Mtoe in 2009 to 27Mtoe in 2035,” it said.
Thailand imports about 1,100 million cubic feet per day of natural gas from Myanmar. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) has also been used as a fuel for electricity generation since 2011. 
The Map Ta Phut LNG Terminal, Thailand’s first LNG re-gasification terminal, was inaugurated in Rayong province in September of that year. The terminal has an initial capacity of 5 million tonnes per annum.
Through 2035, while oil and gas will account for more than 65 per cent of total primary energy supply, new renewable energy sources are expected to grow by 77 per cent over the period, and will account for 19 per cent of the 2035 total. In this BAU (business-as-usual) projection, Thailand will likely introduce nuclear power into the primary-energy fuel mix from 2027 onwards. 
Oil imports are expected to grow at an average annual rate of 3.4 per cent, to 80Mtoe in 2035. This is to meet the projected demand for oil, especially in the domestic transport and non-energy sectors over the outlook period. Coal imports are expected to grow at an annual average of 2.3 per cent from 2010 to 2035, mostly serving the industrial sector and electricity generation. 
The BAU scenario also indicates Thailand’s high dependency on fossil fuels will likely result in the further increase of carbon-dioxide emissions and environmental pollution.