Wind Power in Thailand: The government wants to have 800 MW in place by 2022

The Thai Meteorological Department conducted the last study on wind power a decade ago and found that only limited areas in Thailand could make use of wind energy to generate electricity due to the technology’s low level of development at the time, said Krairit Nilkuha, director general of the Energy Ministry’s Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency (DEDE).

Private are interested to invest in wind power investment which already applied to set up plant in many provinces to produce a combined electricity of 1,600 MW.

The government has planned to promote investment in alternative energy, especially wind power in many potential provinces such as Nakhon Ratchasima, Phetchabun and Chaiyapum.

Thammayos Srichuay, deputy director-general of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency Department, said that several companies are interested to invest in establishing wind power plant.

The department recently has supported to conduct a research the appropriate area nationwide. In addition, it also encourage to set up wind station at the height of 40 to 90 metres.

Under the Energy Ministry’s 15 year alternative energy development plan, it focuses to produce electricity from wind power by 115 MW by 2011. This aimed (wind power generating) to replace crude oil consumption of 13,000 tonnes per year. In addition, it plans to reach a total capacity of 800 MW by 2012 or replacing crude oil consumption of 89,000 tonnes.

The state agency now needs a new study to help encourage private investment in wind power as the DEDE plans to auction concessions, under an independent power producer model, for the technology.

"Most of Thailand’s highland areas are the property of state agencies," he said. "So, any projects developed on such land will have to be operated as concessions."

Silpakorn University has been assigned to conduct the feasibility study which is scheduled to be completed within the first quarter of next year.

"The old data only found potential sites in the lowlands and near to the coast," he said. "However, with new technology, even highland areas that are 800 to 900 metres above sea level, such as mountains and cliffs, can be used to develop projects. We need a new study to confirm the possibility."

Many of the old wind power projects failed commercially. Some were only able to operate for a few days every month due to low wind speeds, Mr Krairit said.

Under Thailand’s renewable power development plan for 2007 to 2022, wind power would be developed to produce 115 megawatts of electricity per year within 2011, rising to 375 MW in 2016 and 800 MW in 2022.

The DEDE will also conduct a feasibility study on solar power in Thailand to reflect recent developments in solar cell technology.

"Both solar and wind-power should be promoted and developed, either the public or private sector should be gathered to help speed up our progress on renewable energy," he said. "We depend too much on imported energy."

Thailand’s current wind-power capacity is just one megawatt per year, according to DEDE, but this is expected to increase to more than 10 MW within 2011 with Ratchaburi Generating Holding Plc’s development of new projects in Nakhon Ratchasima and Phetchabun.,%20an%20assessment.pdf