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Energy Ministry aims to boost alternative sources of power

Sep 11. 2018
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By The Nation

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The Energy Ministry’s Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency (DEDE) aims to use alternative sources to produce 30 per cent of total power consumed in the country by 2037 as part of its new alternative energy development plan (AEDP).

Praphon Wongtharua, DEDE director-general, said the department has also been drafting a power development plan (PDP) for the same period. The new PDP will be categorised into North, Northeast, East, West, South and Bangkok.

With these plans in place, by 2037, 30 per cent of the total energy used in the country will be produced using alternative means, Praphon said. 

According to the current AEDP, alternative energy includes ethanol and bio-diesel, which are normally petrol substitutes for powering vehicles. However, their usage could well reduce due to the entry of electric vehicles and a mostly electric rail transit system. As part of the current plan, ethanol usage had been set at 11.3 million litres per day and bio-diesel as 14 million litres daily. 

DEDE also expects to use solar rooftops, biomass and waste for power production. However, the use of alternative means to produce power depends on several factors, namely demand and power-production capacity, Praphon said, adding that production costs should not be affected. 

He pointed out that solar rooftops can be installed anywhere, while biomass power plants can be located in areas where there is a large amount of wood waste, such as the South. 

The 2015-2036 AEDP aims to use alternative resources to produce 19,684.4 megawatts of power. Of this, 6,000 megawatts will be provided by solar energy, 5,570 megawatts from biomass, 3,002 megawatts from wind power and 2,906.4 megawatts from hydropower.

The remainder will be generated using other means, such as 550 megawatts from garbage; 600 megawatts from waste and waste water; 376 megawatts from small hydropower plants; and 680 megawatts from energy crops.

Praphon said a ministerial regulation on the types, sizes, standards, criteria and design of buildings for energy conservation called Building Energy Code (BEC) should be approved by the Council of State and announced early next year.

Under the new code, at least 2,000 square metres of new buildings should be built following energy conservation design standards. These building types extend from offices, hotels, hospitals, department stores, theatres, service facilities, assembly buildings, condominiums and educational establishments.

The plan is that the code will be applied to buildings that cover 10,000 square metres or more by next year, and in 2020, the code will be applied to those with areas of 5,000 square metres or more. In 2021, the code will target buildings with areas of 2,000 square metres or more.

The BEC is part of the government’s energy efficiency plan, which aims to save energy. From 2009-2018, some 650 buildings have been inspected, and over the past two years, about 114 buildings of 33 agencies have saved 430 million units of energy worth about Bt1.5 billion.

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