Thailand: The 15 Year Renewable Energy Development Plan and The 20 Year Energy Conservation Plan
Renewable energy and energy efficiency are the primary goals of climate change policy in Thailand. Development of renewable energy and energy efficiency is enhanced by national level policies. These include the 15-Year Renewable Energy Development Plan (REDP) and the 20-Year Energy Conservation Plan.
Based on domestic resources, the Government of Thailand developed a national level policy called the 15-Year Renewable Energy Development Plan (REDP) in order to strengthen the security of energy provision; promote the use of energy for an integrated green community; support the alternative energy technology industry; and research, develop, and promote high-efficiency alternative energy technologies (Ministry of Energy 2009). Renewable energy sources, which are developed under the REDP, are solar, wind, hydropower, biomass, biogas, municipal waste, ethanol, biodiesel and hydrogen. After the successful implementation of REDP, there will be greenhouse gas reductions of around 42MtCO2 eq in 2022 (Ministry of Energy 2009). There are three major strategies, which are required for implementation of the plan:
- Supporting the production and utilization of renewable energy
- Supporting research and development into renewable energy
- Raising awareness and knowledge dissemination
In 2011, the Government of Thailand created a comprehensive national policy plan called the 20-Year Energy Conservation Plan to promote energy efficiency associated with transport, industry, commercial, and residential sectors (Ministry of Energy 2009). This plan is intended to be a long-term plan for energy conservation and energy efficiency. Under the plan, it is expected that greenhouse gas emissions will be significantly reduced by about 49MtCO2 eq by 2030 (Ministry of Energy 2009). To achieve this objective, the plan includes different policy measures for enhancing energy efficiency, which are:
- Energy standards and regulations
- Capacity building
- Energy efficiency networking
- Awareness raising
- Financial incentives
The creation of a national policy such as the renewable energy promotion policy and its associated measures has had major implications for the power and fuel production industry. One such implication is associated with the substantial growth of the small and very small power producers. Such policy measures allowed small producers to join the energy production sector (financially) and attracted large number of investors (both nationally and internationally) to renewable energy projects.
These policies and measures have increased the energy security of Thailand. Developing and utilizing renewable energy leads to reducing the dependency on imported energy from other countries. However, some argue that current policy incentives may not be enough to attract investments (both nationally and internationally) in some renewable energy sources like wind power.