The Government has modified its 15-year Alternative Energy Development Plan which has fallen short of achieving its short-term target.
THIS REPORT CONTAINS ASSESSMENTS OF COMMODITY AND TRADE ISSUES MADE BY
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Required Report - public distribution
GAIN Report Number: TH2064
John Wade Agricultural
TH2064 The Government has modified its 15-year Alternative Energy Development Plan which has
fallen short of achieving its short-term target. Ethanol production will likely continue to increase in
2012 and 2013 driven by strong export demand. Biodiesel production is estimated to grow steadily in
2012 and 2013 reflecting the implementing of mandatory B5 biodiesel use.
The Government has new 10-year Alternative Energy Development Plan (2012-2021) to replace its old
15-year plan (2008-2022) which has fallen short of achieving its short-term targets, particularly in
ethanol consumption. The new plan leaves the ethanol consumption target unchanged at 9.0 million
liters/day by 2021 which is still a challenge as current consumption is around 1.1 million liters/day.
Meanwhile, the biodiesel consumption target is revised up from 4.5 million liters/day to 5.97 million
liters/day by 2021while current production capacity is at 1.62 million liters/day.
Ethanol production will likely increase to 1.9 million liters/day in 2012, and to 2.1 million liters/day in
2013, as compared to 1.4 million liters/day in 2011. The anticipated increase in production will be
driven by strong export demand. Ethanol exports are expected to increase to 300 – 350 million liters in
2012-2013, which accounts for around 45.0 percent of total ethanol production, up significantly from
27.0 percent in 2011. Meanwhile, ethanol consumption is expected to increase approximately 10.0
percent annually to 1.13 million liters/day in 2012, and 1.23 million liters/day in 2013, driven by the
bigger price difference with Octane 91 regular gasoline following the government policy to promote
gasohol consumption. This anticipated increase in ethanol consumption is far below the Government’s
short-term ethanol consumption target of 2.0 million liters/day by the end of 2012 in anticipation of the
delay of the cancellation of Octane 91 regular gasoline sales that will be effective on October 1, 2012.
However, ending stocks of ethanol will likely decline to an optimal level in 2013 in anticipation of
strong ethanol export demand in 2012 - 2013.
Based on a recent survey done by FAS, crude palm oil (CPO) production for 2012 is likely to decrease
by 10-15 percent from 1.83 million tons in 2011 to 1.5-1.6 million tons mainly because the impact of a
reduction in average yields of fresh fruit bunch (FFB) should outstrip that of increased harvested area.
This level of CPO production however should be enough to meet a demand for use in biodiesel
production in 2012. Biodiesel production in 2012 is pegged at 860 million liters in 2012 and continues
to grow to 890 million liters in 2013, reflecting an implement of mandatory B5 biodiesel use in these
There has been no change in policies from the previous annual report regarding biomass energy and
advanced energy. Thailand currently promotes biomass energy for heat and power generation through
the granting of licenses to approved private companies to sell electricity to the Electricity Generating
Authority of Thailand (EGAT). In the meantime, a molasses-based ethanol using second generation
biofuels in form of cane bagasse remains in the experimental stage.
1. Policy and Programs
The Government replaced its old 15-year Alternative Energy Development Plan (2008 - 2022) with the
10-year Alternative Energy Development Plan (2012 – 2021) which was approved by the cabinet on
December 27, 2011. The new plan is set to increase the share of renewable and alternative energy from
the existing 9.4 percent of total energy consumption to 25 percent by 2021, as compared to 20 percent in
its old target. The objective is mainly to reduce oil imports which account for approximately 80 percent
of total oil consumption. Also, the plan aims to strengthen domestic energy security, to promote
integrated green energy utilization in communities, to enhance the development of alternative energy
industries, and to research and develop renewable energy technology for competitiveness in the global
The new 10-year Alternative Energy Development Plan (2012-2021) is set to increase ethanol
consumption to 9.0 ml/day by 2021, unchanged from the old 15-yr plan (2008-2022) which has fallen
short of achieving its short-term target of 3.0 million liter/day as actual ethanol production is only 1.43
million liters/day in 2011. Also, ethanol producers face a surplus of around 40-50 million liters/day as
actual ethanol consumption has been stable at around 1.0 – 1.1 million liters/day since 2009 due to a
government decisions to reverse its formerly planned policy of mandating compulsory use of
In an effort to make the new plan operational, the Government has the strategic plans on both the supply
and demand sides. On the production side, the plan still focuses on the supply of existing feedstock by
improving an average yield of sugarcane above 15 tons/rai (94 tons/hectare) with total production of
105 million tons/year, and that of cassava above 5 tons/rai (31 tons/hectare) with total production of 35
million tons/year by 2021. On the demand side, the cabinet approved the government plan on
December 27, 2011 to terminate the sales of Octane 91 regular gasoline by October 1, 2012. Also, the
Government will subsidize E20 gasohol (a blend of 20% ethanol and 80% gasoline) from the State Oil
Fund, at 3.0 baht/liter (36 US cents/gallon) cheaper than Octane 95 gasohol. In addition, the plan will
provide an incentive for gasoline stations to expand the E20 gasohol sales by giving 0.5 baht/liter (6 US
cents/gallon) marketing margin above the Octane 91 regular gasoline sales. The Government continues
to support the manufacturing of Eco-car (E20 vehicles) and flex-fuel vehicles (FFV) which are
compatible with E85 gasohol (a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline) by reducing excise tax for
automobile manufacturers by 50,000 baht/vehicle (US$ 1,587/vehicle) for FFV and 30,000 baht/vehicle
(US$ 952/vehicle) for Eco-car. Moreover, the Government will liberalize the ethanol laws and
regulation, which is still governed by the Liquor Act, for ethanol sales in the future. The plan supports a
budget for research that enhances ethanol demand, especially for old vehicles and motorcycles.
1.2 Bio Diesel
The Government revised up its B100 consumption target to 5.97 million liters/day by 2021, as
compared to 4.50 million liters/day in the old Biodiesel Development Plan. The plan focuses on both
supply and demand sides. On the supply side, the Government will promote the expansion of oil palm
acreage to a targeted 5.5 million rai (880,000 hectares) with total oil palm harvested areas of 5.3 million
rai (848,000 hectares). Average yield is targeted at 3.2 tons/rai/year (20tons/hectares/year) and the
crushing rate of crude palm should be above 18.0 percent by 2012. The plan will increase the
production capacity of crude palm oil above 3.05 million tons/year. On the demand side, the
Government will balance its compulsory production of biodiesel with domestic palm oil demand. The
plan will introduce pilot projects for B10 or B20 blend use by fleet trucks and fishery boats. In addition
due to current insufficient feedstock for biodiesel production, the Government will support research and
development on “The Future New Fuel for Diesel Substitution” which encourages the development of
new energy crops (jatropha and micro algae), diesohol (blending ethanol with diesel), and oil
conversion technology (Bio Hydrofined Diesel: BHD, and Biomass to Liquid: BTL) during 2014-2017.
The target for new commercial production capacity is 2 million liters/day in 2018 and up to 25 million
liters/day by 2021.
In 2012, the number of operating ethanol plants will likely increase to 21 plants with total production
capacity of 3.715 million liters/day, up from 19 plants with production capacity of 3.065 million
liters/day in the previous year (Table 2.1). The new ethanol plants will be cassava-based plants. There
are six new cassava-based ethanol plants due for completion within 2012 with total production capacity
of 2.220 million liters/day. Two of these are expected to operate as export plants. One manufacture has
an export contract of 100.0 million liters/year with a partner in China for delivery in October 2012
onwards. In 2012, total ethanol production is expected to increase to 695 million liters (1.9 million
liters/day), up 33.7 percent from 520 million liters (1.4 million liters/day) in the previous year (Table
In the first four month of this year, ethanol plants are operating at an average of 1.89 million liters/day,
up 32.2 percent from an average of 1.43 million liters/day in 2011. Molasses-based ethanol dominates
ethanol production, operating at 1.44 million liters/day, up 38.0 percent from an average of 1.05 million
liters/day in the previous year. Seventy percent of ethanol plants have sugar mills as their core business.
A downward trend in molasses prices due to a bumper sugarcane crop in MY2011/12 of nearly 100
million tons (TH2041, Sugar Annual 2012) is making it more attractive to use in ethanol production.
The sole sugarcane-based ethanol plant is operating at around 0.18 million liters/day, up 74.4 percent
from an average production of 0.10 million liters/day using 0.5 million tons of sugarcane in the previous
year. The sugarcane used in this plant is cultivated in an area of 50,000 rai (8,000 hectares), which is
unsuitable for the production of edible crop due to the hazardous nature of the land. Meanwhile,
cassava-based ethanol plants are operating at 0.14 million liters/day, down 50.0 percent from an average
of 0.28 million liters/day in the previous year. This is due to high cassava prices caused by the
government Cassava Pledging Program which was implemented between February 1 – May 31, 2012.
The intervention price of cassava is set at 2.75 baht/kg ($87/MT) which is 50.0 percent above market
prices. Some cassava-based ethanol plants stopped their operation as their ethanol production cannot
compete with molasses-based ethanol which is approximately 27.0 percent cheaper.
In 2013, total ethanol production is forecast to increase 13.0 percent to 785 million liters (2.1 million
liters/day) in anticipation of strong import demand from China and the Philippines. However, the
operating ethanol plants will continue to face challenges as they will be operating at less than half of
their full capacity, as domestic demand for gasohol is limited by the existing of Octane 91 regular
gasoline, accounting for around 45.0 percent of total gasoline consumption, as many consumers are
inclined to pay the premium on regular gasoline. Also, the government plan to terminate Octane 91
regular gasoline sales by October 1, 2012 remains challenged by the resistance of the refineries. Five
out of the total six refineries are not ready to shift from Octane 91 regular gasoline production to
gasohol production by October 2012. They are negotiating with the Government to delay the plan until
2014, or else the Government will have to subsidize the additional costs of imported petroleum products
for gasohol production during their production restructuring process.
In 2012 ethanol consumption is expected to increase to 410 million liters or 1.13 million liters/day, up
approximately 10.0 percent from the previous year, due to an increase in E10 Octane 91 and E20
gasohol consumption driven by bigger price difference with Octane 91 regular gasoline following the
government policy to promote gasohol consumption. Presently, the retail price is 5-6 baht/liter (60-72
US cents/gallon) cheaper for E10 Octane 91 gasohol, and 7.0 baht/liter (84 US cents/gallon) cheaper for
E20 gasohol, as compared to 3 baht/liter (36 US cents/gallon) and 4 baht/liter (48 US cents/gallon),
respectively during the end of 2011 (Table 2.4). In addition, the E20 gasohol stations will likely
increase to 1,200 stations by the end of 2012, as compared to the existing 875 stations.
In the first four months of this year, E10 Octane 91 gasohol (a blend of 10% ethanol and 90% gasoline)
consumption increased to 660 million liters (5.5 million liters/day), up 8.2 percent from the previous
year (Table 2.3). The market share of E10 Octane 91 gasohol increased to around 48 percent of total
gasohol consumption, as compared to 40 percent in the previous year. Also, E20 gasohol consumption
increased to 90 million liters (0.7 million liters/day), up 32.4 percent from the previous year due to the
government price subsidy for E20 gasohol from the State Oil Fund, causing E20 gasohol to be cheaper
than regular gasoline by 17.4 percent. Consumption of E20 gasohol accounted for approximately 7.0
percent of total gasohol consumption, up from around 5.0 percent in the previous year.
In 2013 ethanol consumption is forecast to increase to 450 million liters (1.23 million liters/day), up
around 10.0 percent from the previous year. This anticipated increase is far below the Government’s
short-term ethanol consumption target of 2.0 million liters/day by 2012. It assumes that will not be able
to completely suspend all Octane 91 regular gasoline sales by October 1, 2012 as presently planned.
Presently, the consumption of Octane 91 regular gasoline remains high at around 9.2 million liters/day,
accounting for approximately 45 percent of total gasoline consumption (Table 2.3). The increases that
do occur then will be driven solely by bigger price difference between E10 and E20 gasohol and Octane
91 regular gasoline as set by the Government through the State Oil Fund. Also, E20 gasohol
consumption will likely continue its growth in anticipation due to increases in the number of E20
vehicles and E20 gasohol stations as a result of the Government’s tax incentive for Eco-car
manufacturers and the price subsidy for E20 gasohol.
Ethanol exports (HS2207.10.00) more than tripled in 2011 to 167 million liters, as compared to 48.2
million liters in the previous year. The increase reflected import demand from the Philippines to fulfill
its E10 gasohol mandate that became effective August 6, 2011. Ethanol exports continued to grow
during January – March 2012 to 84.0 million liters, as compared to 22.7 million liters in the same period
of the previous year again primarily to the Philippines where the operation of its new ethanol plants has
been delayed. Philippines local ethanol plants reportedly supply only 30 percent of its domestic
demand. Total ethanol exports are forecast to increase to 300 million liters in 2012 due to continue
import demand from the Philippine. Meanwhile, there will be no imports of ethanol for gasohol
production in 2012 due to sufficient domestic supplies and a tariff of 2.5 baht/liter (roughly 30 US
cents/gallon) on imported ethanol.
In 2013, ethanol exports will likely increase to 350 million tons in anticipation of strong import demand
from the Philippines and China. Ethanol exports to China are expected to increase significantly as a
new Thai export-oriented ethanol plant with a production capacity of 400,000 Liters/day will likely be
fully operated after its commissioning in the last quarter of 2012. This ethanol plant is a cassava-based
ethanol with an export contract of 100 million liter/year to China.
In 2012, ethanol stocks will likely decline to around 42.0 million liters, down 28 percent from the
previous year, due to significant increase in export demand. Ending stocks of ethanol in 2013 are
expected to be at an optimal level based on oil reserve requirement of 5.0 percent of sales, which will be
around 20-30 million liters, as export demand will likely remain strong despite anticipated increase in
ethanol production from new ethanol plants.
2.5 Market for Ethanol Used as Other Industrial Chemicals
Unlike fuel ethanol, production of non-fuel ethanol is controlled by the government. The Liquor
Distillery Organization (LDO) which is under the Excise Department of the Ministry of Finance
monopolized industrial grade ethanol production in Thailand with production capacity of approximately
60,000 liters/day. Industrial grade ethanol accounts for around 30 percent of total non-fuel ethanol
production. In 2012-13 industrial grade ethanol production is forecast to increase to 19 - 20 million
Table 2.6 Es ated Ethanol Used as Other Industrial Chemicals (Million Liters)
liters, up around 2.0 – 3.0 percent annually. The LDO plans to invest in new facilities that will triple
capacity due to growing domestic demand for industrial grade ethanol, particularly for 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
medical/pharmacy uses, paints, and cosmetics. Presently, domestic demand for industrial grade ethanol
P oduction 17.8 18.3 17.4 2 1.0 16.0 1 9.0 19.5 2 0.0
is approximately 50,000 liters/day.
TheIre is only one etphanol ploant that rexports. sIt has a production capacity of 230,000 tons with facilities 1.4 2.0 3.7 6.5 5.4 6.1 6.0 6.0
for Ebeveragex- and inpdustrialo-grade ethanol production. Most of its exports are beverage grade ethanol to rts 3.7 4.7 6.2 10.9 4.4 9.3 7.0 7.5
Japan, Korea, and China.
Co sumption 15.0 16.3 14.6 15.4 16.5 17.3 18.2 19.1
Stocks 1.5 0.8 1.0 2 .2 2.7 1 .1 1.5 0 .9
Capacity (liters/day) 60,000 60,000 60,000 6 0,000 60,000 6 0,000 60,000 6 0,000
Capacity Use (%) 82 85 80 9 7 74 8 8 90 9 3
B100 or unblended biodiesel in Thailand is currently produced from feedstock from the palm oil
industry- i.e. crude palm oil (CPO), refined bleached deodorized (RBD) palm oil, palm stearin and free
fatty acids of palm oil (FFA). B100 production is solely determined by domestic demand for blended
biodiesel, currently compulsory at B5 since January 1, 2012. Thailand does not import or export B100,
it does however export CPO.
Reflecting increased demand from mandatory B5 use and growing diesel consumption, B100
production is expected to grow from 630 million liters in 2011 to 860 million liters in 2012 and to 890
million liters in 2013.
Based on a recent survey done by FAS, crude palm oil (CPO) production for 2012 is likely to decrease
by 10-15 percent from 1.83 million tons in 2011 to 1.5-1.6 million tons mainly because a reduction in
average yields of fresh fruit bunches (FFB) should outstrip increased harvested area. According to
palm oil crushers, FFB productivity in 2012 is estimated to drop as a result of dry conditions in 2010
and a natural reduction in productivity a year after palm plantation reaped record yields in 2011.
However, trade sources believed that this level of CPO production should be enough to meet demand
for use in B100 production.
There has been no new B100 plant come on line since 2010. Thirteen active producers have altogether
a current production capacity of 5.4 million liters per day or 1,970 million liters per annum. Prices for
B100 to petroleum refineries remained unchanged from the last update in 2011 as the few petroleum
refineries are able to dictate prices. Actual prices paid to CPO B100 producers are about 10 percent or
2-3 baht/liter (20-36 US cents/gallon) below government reference prices1/. Prices for stearin B100 are
sold at 1-2 baht/liter (12-24 US cents/gallon) below CPO B100 due to a presence of “cloud point”
appearance in stearin-derived B100.
1/ Reference prices are calculated and announced on a weekly basis by Energy Policy and Planning Office (EPPO), Ministry of Energy, to reflect B100
production coat at a certain period. The government uses these reference prices to calculate an Oil Fund fee. However, both B100 producers and buyers use
the reference prices as a basis for negotiating actual prices for their trade.
B100 consumption will increase in 2012 by 35 percent, from 630 million liters in 2011 to 850 million
liters, mainly because mandatory B5 use was reinstated in January 2012 and total diesel consumption
should grow by 5-6 percent in 2012. Growth in B100 consumption is anticipated to slow down to 3-4
percent in 2013 since the B5 mandatory use will remain unchanged.
Thailand has not imported or exported any B100 products as the government restricts trade by not
issuing import/export permits for B100. This is done to protect domestic palm growers.
3.4 Ending Stocks
B100 production is supplied to domestic petroleum oil refineries on a contract basis; B100 producers
try to keep their production limited to cover the contract amounts. As a result, the country’s stocks, held
by either B100 producers or petroleum oil refineries, are low at 20-30 million liters or about ten days of
4. Advance Biofuels
A molasses-based ethanol plant has opened a second production line using second-generation biofuels
in the form of cane bagasse is currently operational. This pilot project has been established between
Thai Roong Ruang Group, one of the largest sugar mills in Thailand, the Japanese government, and the
Thai government. The operation remains in the experimental stage with a production of 10,000
liters/day. The full capacity will be 120,000 liters/day once it is fully developed.
5. Biomass for Heat and Power
In Thailand, biogas derived from animal manure for power generation and cooking is done at the farm
level usually for own household needs. Larger developments have been undertaken on power generation
from landfill biogas. The Energy Conservation Promotion Fund (ENCON), a government agency, has
supported several projects through of soft loans, monetary subsidies, R&D support, and assistance for
Thailand has also promoted biomass energy for heat and power generation in recent years through the
granting of licenses to approved private companies in order to sell electricity to the Electricity
Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) under the Small Producer Program (SPP) and Very Small
Producer Program (VSPP). SPP is applied for a facility which can supply not more than 10 MW of
electricity while VSPP is for not more than 1 MW. The government provides incentives to these small
power producers through enhance purchase prices and a soft loan program. As a result, a large number
of small renewable energy projects have emerged in many areas of Thailand. Feedstock used for these
projects is mainly agricultural wastes including bagasse from sugar mills, paddy husk from rice mills,
woodchips from paper factories, and empty palm bunches from palm oil crushing mills.
The Energy Policy and Planning Office (EPPO) recently reported that 77 small producers (SP) are
approved to sell 4,009 MW of electricity to EGAT, of which 59 producers are currently supplying 2,533
MW in total. It was also reported that 950 very-small producers (VSP) are currently approved to sell
4,438 MW of electricity, of which only 226 producers are supplying 597 MW in total.
End of report