February 28, 2008 (Bangkok Post) – Thailand is developing a master plan to build the country into the world’s second largest green energy producer after Brazil. Energy Minister Poonpirom Liptapanlop said she wanted to see the country become a net exporter of green energy to tap strong global demand.
To achieve the goal, authorities plan to develop a 15-year Renewable Energy Development Plan to cover the full range of alternative energy businesses including gasohol, biodiesel, biomass, wind and solar power, she said yesterday.
”The plan will set a strategy to ensure the development of the whole industry, such as the quality of products and supply volume,” she added.
Lt Gen Poonpirom said the government and producers specialising in green energy needed to co-operate more effectively under the plan.
Financial support for investors would be provided through the ministry’s incentive programme including tax breaks and tariff-free machinery imports.
Ethanol, for which Thailand is achieving economies of scale, would be the first target for export. Thailand produces 1.3 million litres a day of ethanol from nine plants, far above domestic consumption of 700,000 litres a day.
The government forecasts additional output of one million litres a day from seven to 10 new ethanol producers, which could add 2.3 million litres of output by the end of this year.
”We can turn this surplus into an opportunity by looking for a chance to ship [the ethanol] to other countries,” Lt Gen Poonpirom said.
Biodiesel, however, would take five or six years to expand as new palm plantations are necessary.
Crude palm oil is at risk of shortage because most is used in the food industry.
The Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Co-operatives (BAAC) has extended assistance to palm planters to help them expand production.
Gasohol consumption is expected to reach 12 million litres a day by the end of this year from the current seven million litres. Gasohol is a mixture of ethanol and gasoline. B2, a mixture of 2% biofuel with diesel, made its debut this year and replaced all high-speed diesel.
The government also plans to launch B10, a mix of 10% biofuel mixed with 90% diesel, within this year.
Sirivuthi Siamphakdee, president of the Thai Ethanol Manufacturers Association, expressed concern that the food sector may face constraints if raw materials are used by fuel makers.
Lt Gen Poonpirom also expects to increase local crude oil output from the current 200,000 barrels to 250,000 barrels by 2011 by pumping additional output from existing deposits to reduce dependence on imported oil.