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Thailand plans to become power trade hub of Southeast Asia [free access]

August 8, 2019

Thailand’s Ministry of Energy has put forward its plans to promote Thailand as the power trade hub of Southeast Asia by improving the high voltage (HV) line network across the nation, thereby adding to its power trade with neighbouring countries.


Reportedly, the Ministry has set five pillars to capture future disruption in the energy sector, namely digitisation, decarbonisation, electrification, decentralisation and deregulation. Specifically, the improvement of HV lines is a part of digitisation, with a target to support grid connections in Southeast Asia soon.


The Ministry has also set up a new working group for this plan, which consists of the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT), state-owned power supply utility Metropolitan Electricity Authority (MEA), Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA), the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), the National Economic and Social Development Council, and the Finance Ministry.


Accordingly, the plan includes power trade in the Southeast region from surplus generation in Thailand and Laos, facilitating greater rewards for both the countries. Specifically, Laos aims to be the battery of Asia by taking advantage of its natural resources, and expects to generate roughly 20-30 GW. Meanwhile, power demand in the country stands at a mere 1 GW. On the other end, Thai power generation also has a huge surplus, with a total supply of 42 GW, while the peak demand for 2019 stands at 31-32 GW; signalling a surplus of nearly 10 GW. Furthermore, the country plans to add various new gas-fired power plants during 2023-25, including 5,000 MW in Chon Buri and Rayong, 1,400 MW in Ratchaburi, and two plants in Bangkok.


In a nutshell, to augment power trade, the Thai Ministry also plans to sign tentative agreements for power trade with Laos and Malaysia, by mainly using Thailand's power grid infrastructure.