Energy authorities and the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) are drafting a Thailand Integrated Energy Blueprint (TIEB) to set up a zero carbon emission goal in response to the growing trends of renewable energy and electric vehicles (EVs).
The plan is based on the 2018 Power Development Plan and the country's Oil Plan, Gas Plan, Alternative Energy Development Plan and Energy Efficiency Plan, all of which were introduced in 2018.
Kulit Sombasiri, permanent secretary for energy, said on Monday a deadline to attain the TIEB goals is yet to be determined, but it should not be too different from similar goals set in the US and EU, which have set 2050 as the date to achieve zero emissions, 10 years ahead of China.
"Before we determine a date, a long-term plan and list of actions must be clearly set," he said.
TIEB aims to cover the impact on oil refineries and the internal combustion engine (ICE) supply chain once growth in renewable energy and EV businesses has been realised.
Officials plan to consider other factors, including a huge surplus of power generation capacity in reserve that exceeds 40% of total capacity, electric and high-speed train system development, domestic natural gas depletion and 5G telecommunications development.
Mr Kulit expects energy officials and the FTI to complete the drafting process by April 2021.
Danucha Pitchayanan, secretary-general of the National Economic and Social Development Board, said energy authorities should prepare for the arrival of energy storage systems for renewable resources. The cost of these facilities, a key element for power trade among businesses and householders, is now almost as competitive as those for the fossil fuel-based state grid.
The energy business model in the future will move towards independent power production by businesses and householders, he said.
"The private sector will increasingly play a major role in this sector and peer-to-peer power trade cannot be avoided," said Mr Danucha.
Energy will mainly derive from renewable fuels and liquefied natural gas, while dependence on coal and oil will continue to decrease, he said.
Sompote Ahunai, vice-president of FTI's Institute of Industrial Energy, said the FTI estimates if all 20 million ICE vehicles in Thailand were exchanged for EVs, the country would save up to 100 billion baht per year from spending on crude and refined oil imports. He said the government should use that money to set up a fund, valued at up to 2 trillion baht, over the next 30 years. Around 200 billion baht could be spent on the development of EV charging infrastructure and reducing the negative impact on the oil-powered vehicle supply chain, with the remainder for development projects.