New power plan will support renewables
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New power plan will support renewables

Energy authorities expect to launch a new national power development plan (PDP) in an effort to better promote and support greater use of renewable energy.

The new PDP is meant to span 2023 to 2037, replacing the current one that took effect in 2018 and went through many revisions to align with changes in energy policy.

Efforts to introduce the new PDP were earlier delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic, a surge in global energy prices and Thailand's new commitment to cutting carbon dioxide emissions.

The government announced in 2021 Thailand will take more serious action to achieve carbon neutrality, a balance between carbon dioxide emissions and absorption, by 2050.

The policy means the country needs to redesign its energy management to be less dependent on fossil fuels.

Drafting of the 2023 PDP is nearly finished and should be concluded around the middle of this year, said Veerapat Kiatfuengfoo, deputy director-general of the Energy Policy and Planning Office (Eppo).

A public hearing on the new PDP must be scheduled, with the plan approved by the National Energy Policy Council and the cabinet.

Under the new plan, the loss of load expectation (LOLE) method will be used to manage power supply to allay concerns over surplus power generation capacity in reserve, which is blamed for driving up power bills.

The current power generation capacity in reserve is at 30% of total capacity.

LOLE will estimate how many hours of electricity supply cannot meet actual demand in a year.

This method corresponds with Thailand's shift towards more use of renewable sources, such as clean energy, but raises concerns over intermittent electricity output.

LOLE for Thailand should be 0.7 days a year, said Wattanapong Kurovat, director-general of Eppo. In other words, load loss or generation deficiency should not be greater than 17 hours in one year.

LOLE is suitable for higher use of renewable resources such as solar and wind to generate electricity as their power supply is monitored every hour, he said.

Thailand aims to have renewable energy make up 50% of total fuels used for electricity generation by 2036.

In 2021, the proportion of renewable energy tallied 11%.

The new PDP will also pave the way for the development of alternative energy such as nuclear energy, said Mr Veerapat.

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