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Thailand Sectors

What is Thailandʼs pathway to limit global warming to 1.5°C?

1.5°C aligned targets
Current targets

In 2020, Thailand’s power mix was fossil fuel heavy, with natural gas making up a 66% share and coal representing 20%.20 To get on a 1.5°C pathway, the power sector would need to see a sharp increase in the share of renewables in electricity generation from 16% in 2020 to 57–67% by 2030. Thailand would need to phase out fossil gas between 2040 and 2042 at the latest and coal by around 2034. Thailand’s power sector’s emissions intensity would need to fall to 100–180 gCO₂/kWh by 2030, a 62–78% decrease from 2019 levels, and the sector would need to be fully decarbonised between 2033 and 2040.

A 1.5°C pathway could see renewables displace fossil fuels in the power sector and represent 100% of the mix by 2040. However, policy developments indicate that Thailand is not currently on track for achieving this. The government’s revised LTS aims for a 74% share of renewable electricity generation by 2050 and the revised Power Development Plan aims for renewables to represent only 37% of power generation by 2037.2,3 Thailand’s Energy Regulatory Commission also halted the connecting of new ground mounted solar and wind projects to the grid in 2016, disincentivising investment in renewables.21 At the same time, the 2013 feed-in-tariff, auctions, and community power programmes have not attracted large interest.2

Thailand faces energy security supply risks as imports from neighbouring countries are sometimes cut due to maintenance.24 Renewable energy technologies offer a potential solution to diversify Thailand’s power mix and to rely on domestic energy rather than face the uncertainty of imports and price fluctuations. Studies have shown considerable potential for renewable energy in Thailand from solar, wind, biomass, ocean wave energy and hydropower.24-27 Hydropower developments in the region can, however, negatively impact local communities in the lower Mekong area.12

Paris Agreement compatible pathways show a high potential for renewable energy in the country. Having a 100% renewable energy-based power system by 2040 would avoid a reliance on carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technologies. A commitment to 100% renewable power sector would require policy certainty to secure investments.

Power sector in 2030

Thailand’s power system is heavily dependent on fossil gas, with an emissions intensity of 460 gCO₂/kWh in 2019. Given the sector’s important role in the country’s decarbonisation, all analysed pathways show its emissions declining rapidly. Decarbonising the power system requires a significant scale-up of renewable power technologies, including solar and wind power. Currently, the share of geothermal and hydro is negligible (around 2.5%) in Thailand’s power mix, with solar and wind contributing around 5% of electricity generation.
A stronger push for renewables uptake could result in emissions intensity dropping to 100-180 gCO₂/kWh as early as 2030 and align Thailand with a 1.5°C compatible pathway without having to rely on the use of CDR technologies.29 Thailand’s power system regulation is slowly transforming but faster action is required to achieve the necessary pace of emissions reductions.

Towards a fully decarbonised power sector

A full decarbonisation of the power sector is achieved in 1.5°C compatible pathways from as early as 2033, by phasing out coal by around 2034, followed by gas by between 2033–2040.

Thailand aims to rely on technologies such as CCUS and BECCS to achieve its long-term goal of “carbon neutrality” by 2050. Given the cost of these technologies and that they are not yet available at scale, a safer path would be to focus on fostering the development of renewable energy technologies instead.

1 Government of the Kingdom of Thailand. Thailand’s 2nd Updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC). (2022).

2 Climate Action Tracker. Thailand. September 2021 update. Climate Action Tracker. (2021).

3 Government of Kingdom of Thailand. Long-Term Low Greenhouse Gas Emission Development Strategy (Revised Version). (2022).

4 Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. Thailand Third Biennial Update Report. (2020).

5 IEA. Thailand. International Energy Agency (2021).

6 Ministry of Energy. Power Development Plan Revision 1 (2018).

7 The Diplomat. Thailand’s Renewable Energy Transitions: A Pathway to Realize Thailand 4.0. (2019).

8 Thailand Government. Mid-century, Long-term Low Greenhouse Gas Emission Development Strategy Thailand. (2021).

9 IEA. Thailand. International Energy Agency (2021).

10 Kahintapongs, S. Renewable Energy Policy Development in Thailand. International Journal of Multidisciplinary in Management and Tourism 4, 148–155 (2020).

11 Luangchosiri, N., Ogawa, T., Okumura, H. & Ishihara, K. N. Success Factors for the Implementation of Community Renewable Energy in Thailand. Energies 2021, Vol. 14, Page 4203 14, 4203 (2021).

12 Campbell, I. & Barlow, C. Hydropower Development and the Loss of Fisheries in the Mekong River Basin. Front Environ Sci 8, 200 (2020).

13 Ministry of Energy. Alternative Energy Development Plan (AEDP) 2018. (2018).

14 IEA. Putting a price on carbon – an efficient way for Thailand to meet its bold emission target. International Energy Agency (2020).

15 APERC. Compendium Of Energy Efficiency Policies in APEC Economies: Thailand. (2017).

16 Government of Kingdom of Thailand. Mid-century, Long-term Low Greenhouse Gas Emission Development Strategy (2021).

17 Nama Facility. Thailand – Thai Rice NAMA. Nama Facility.

18 Government of the Kingdom of Thailand. Thailand’s 2nd Updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC). (2022).

19 Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. Climate Change Master Plan of Thailand. (2015).

20 International Energy Agency. Thailand – Countries & Regions – IEA. (2021).

21 Greenpeace. Southeast Asia Power Sector Scorecard. (2020).

22 EGAT. EGAT Overview. (2020).

23 EGAT. Why does EGAT plan to build more coal-fired power plants when other Asian countries like China and India suspend new ones? Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (2020).

24 Kusumadewi, T. V., Winyuchakrit, P., Misila, P. & Limmeechokchai, B. GHG Mitigation in Power Sector: Analyzes of Renewable Energy Potential for Thailand’s NDC Roadmap in 2030. Energy Procedia 138, 69–74 (2017).

25 Smuthkalin, C., Murayama, T. & Nishikizawa, S. Evaluation of The Wind Energy Potential of Thailand considering its Environmental and Social Impacts using Geographic Information Systems. International Journal of Renewable Energy Research (IJRER) 8, 575–584 (2018).

26 Manomaiphiboon, K. et al. Wind energy potential analysis for Thailand: Uncertainty from wind maps and sensitivity to turbine technology. 14, 528–539 (2017).

27 Kompor, W., Ekkawatpanit, C. & Kositgittiwong, D. Assessment of ocean wave energy resource potential in Thailand. Ocean Coast Manag 160, 64–74 (2018).

28 Climate Action Tracker. Paris Agreement Compatible Sectoral Benchmarks: Elaborating the decarbonisation roadmap. Climate Action Tracker. (2020).

29 Thailand Government. Thailand’s Long Term Low Greenhouse Gas Emissions Development Strategy. (2022).

30 DEDE. Thailand Economy Update. (2020).

31 EGS-plan. Thailand’s Building Energy Code (BEC) enters into force as from 13th March 2021. (2021).

32 Gütschow, J., Günther, A. & Pflüger, M. The PRIMAP-hist national historical emissions time series v2.3 (1750-2019). Preprint at (2021).

33 Wongsapai, W. Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Target. (2017).

34 EPPO. Energy Conservation Promotion Act. (2007).

35 Electrive. Thailand to only allow BEV sales from 2035 – Electrive. (2021).

36 Thailand Development Research Institute. Clean energy needs far clearer policy. (2022).

37 USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. Thailand: Updated Biofuel Situation in 2022. (2022).

38 While global cost-effective pathways assessed by the IPCC Special Report 1.5°C provide useful guidance for an upper-limit of emissions trajectories for developed countries, they underestimate the feasible space for such countries to reach net zero earlier. The current generation of models tend to depend strongly on land-use sinks outside of currently developed countries and include fossil fuel use well beyond the time at which these could be phased out, compared to what is understood from bottom-up approaches. The scientific teams which provide these global pathways constantly improve the technologies represented in their models – and novel CDR technologies are now being included in new studies focused on deep mitigation scenarios meeting the Paris Agreement. A wide assessment database of these new scenarios is not yet available; thus, we rely on available scenarios which focus particularly on BECCS as a net-negative emission technology. Accordingly, we do not yet consider land-sector emissions (LULUCF) and other CDR approaches.

Thailandʼs power mix

terawatt-hour per year

SSP1 Low CDR reliance
20192030204020501 000
20192030204020501 000
SSP1 High CDR reliance
20192030204020501 000
Low energy demand
20192030204020501 000
High energy demand - Low CDR reliance
20192030204020501 000
  • Renewables incl. biomass
  • Unabated fossil
  • Nuclear and/or fossil with CCS
  • Negative emissions technologies via BECCS

Thailandʼs power sector emissions and carbon intensity


  • Historical emissions
  • High energy demand - Low CDR reliance
  • SSP1 Low CDR reliance
  • SSP1 High CDR reliance
  • 100%RE
  • Low energy demand

1.5°C compatible power sector benchmarks

Carbon intensity, renewable generation share, and fossil fuel generation share from illustrative 1.5°C pathways for Thailand

Decarbonised power sector by
Carbon intensity of power
100 to 180
−300 to 0
−250 to −50
2033 to 2040
Relative to reference year in %
−78 to −62%
−165 to −100%
−155 to −110%
Year of phase-out
Share of unabated coal
2 to 5
Share of unabated gas
27 to 35
0 to 1
2040 to 2042
Share of renewable energy
57 to 67
98 to 100
Share of unabated fossil fuel
33 to 42
0 to 2


Demand shifting towards the power sector

The 1.5°C compatible pathways analysed here tend to show a strong increase in power generation and installed capacities across time. This is because end-use sectors (such as transport, buildings or industry) are increasingly electrified under 1.5°C compatible pathways, shifting energy demand to the power sector. Globally, the “high energy demand” pathway entails a particularly high degree of renewable energy-based electrification across the various sectors, and sees a considerable increase in renewable energy capacities over time. See the power section for capacities deployment under the various models.

Thailandʼs renewable electricity investments

Billion USD / yr


Yearly investment requirements in renewable energy

Across the set of 1.5°C pathways that we have analysed, annual investments in renewable energy excluding BECCS increase in Thailand to be on the order of USD 2 to 30 billion by 2030 and 6 to 67 billion by 2040 depending on the scenario considered. The ‘high energy demand, low CDR reliance’ pathway shows a particularly high increase in renewable capacity investments, which could be driven by an increase of electrification of end-use sectors and growing energy demand. Increasing energy efficiency could reduce the level of energy demand and the high investment level in renewable energy required. Other modelled pathways have relatively lower investments in renewables and rely to varying degrees on other technologies and measures such as energy efficiency and negative emissions technologies, of which the latter can require high up-front investments.