Accelerated RE Deployment Must For Thailand

IEA: Thailand Can Meet Decarbonization Targets By Deploying 32 GW New Solar & Wind By 2030

Accelerated RE Deployment Must For Thailand

Thailand’s technical potential for wind and solar energy deployment far exceeds the current official targets, according to the IEA. (Photo Credit: TaiyangNews)

  • IEA says Thailand has technical potential to install additional 32 GW wind and solar capacity by 2030, relative to 2021  
  • Faster rollout of its renewable energy capacity can help the country achieve its climate targets  
  • The government needs to prioritize renewables to incentivize its largest GHG emitting sector to decarbonize

A new report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) recommends an accelerated renewable energy build out for Thailand to meet its decarbonization targets by 2037 as it sees technical potential for the country to deploy an additional 32 GW wind and solar capacity by 2030 relative to 2021, and a further 42 GW on top by 2037.  

Under its Alternative Energy Development Plan (AEDP) 2018-2037, Thailand currently plans to grow its total installed solar PV capacity to 15.6 GW by 2037, up from 2.9 GW in 2021. For wind, the target is to expand to 3 GW from 1.4 GW in 2021.  

In May 2019, Thailand announced plans to build over 56 GW of new power capacity by 2037 under its Power Development Plan (PDP) 2018 to meet the 77.21 GW total electricity capacity goal. Renewables account for 20% of the total share in 2037 under the plan (see Thai Cabinet Approves 77 GW Power Capacity Goal).   

Now, the Thai government plans to update the PDP 2018 to meet the overarching ambition to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and net zero emissions by 2065.    

According to the IEA, energy sector is the largest emitting sector in the country, responsible for 69% of total GHG emissions in 2018. Hence, Thailand should be focused on accelerating the expansion of low-carbon energy to achieve its climate targets.  

It recommends an additional 32 GW of wind and solar capacity under the report’s VRE Plus scenario relative to 2021, against 18.6 GW Thailand officially aims for by 2037, with reduced buildout of thermal power plants. Since Thailand enjoys high solar irradiance, major focus should be on expanding solar PV through utility-scale as well as rooftop solar applications.   

It explains, “Our techno-economic analysis shows that Thailand can reach its power sector emissions targets in 2030 and 2037 by deploying additional VRE capacity as well as flexibility solutions to support their integration from 2030.” 

To get there, analysts believe the power system will require additional flexibility sources since the country’s renewable resources are largely located away from demand centers. Flexibility of the power system then becomes a must for Thailand to further lower the share of fossil fuels in the power mix.  

The report writers give a list of following recommendations that can speed up Thailand’s journey to decarbonization:  

  • Focus on policy measures to enable the rapid scale-up of VRE and power system flexibility in a cost-effective manner
  • Provide policy certainty by setting frameworks and technical regulations via the PDP update 
  • Enable access to existing flexibility and incentivize new sources of flexibility, and   
  • Ensure power sector planning is integrated within infrastructure development plans.  

The IEA report titled Thailand’s Clean Electricity Transition report is available on its website for free download.  

About The Author

Anu Bhambhani

SENIOR NEWS EDITOR Anu is our solar news whirlwind. At TaiyangNews, she covers everything that is of importance in the world of solar power. In the past 9 years that she has been associated with TaiyangNews, she has covered over thousands of stories, and analysis pieces on markets, technology, financials, and more on a daily basis. She also hosts TaiyangNews Conferences and Webinars. Prior to joining TaiyangNews, Anu reported on sustainability, management, and education for leading print dailies in India. [email protected]

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