ASEAN Energy and Utilities Digital Week
ASEAN Energy and Utilities Digital Week

6 July 2021

On July 6th 2021the Executive Director of ASEAN Centre for Energy, Dr. Nuki Agya Utama was invited to deliver the welcoming remarks and a special talk on “ASEAN renewable energy status, future trend and their role in energy transformation” in ASEAN Energy and Utilities Digital Week: ASEAN Renewable Energy Outlook virtual webinar. There were also some of the leading experts in the industry who joined the discussion to share their view on current issues and the renewable energy outlook for ASEAN: Dr. Nitur Voraphonpiput (Director, Generation and Transmission System Planning, Division, EGAT), Mr. Scott. C. Bartos (Regional Energy Advisor, U.S. Agency for International Development, Regional Development Mission for Asia), Mr. Jason Venning (Country Manager, FIMER Australia), Dr. Robert Edyvean (A consultant and Honorary member, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Sheffield, UK), Dr. Supatchalee Sophonthammaphat (Engineer Professional Level, Department of Alternative Energy Developement and Efficiency, Ministry of Energy, Thailand), Assoc. Prof. Dr. Bundit Figtammasan (The Joint Graduate School of Energy and Environment, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi), and Mr. John Bruce Wells (Deloitte’s Chief Party US Agency for International Development (USAID), Vietnam Low Emission Energy Program II (V-LEEP II)) and also moderated by Dr. Weerawat Chantanakome (The Ministry Counsellor for International Affairs, Ministry of Energy, Thailand). 

During the welcome remarks, Dr. Nuki Agya Utama mentioned that through ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation (APAEC), the region has committed to achieve the targets on Renewable Energy share 23% in Total Primary Energy Supply (TPES), as well as the 35% share in installed power capacity by 2025. To fulfill the target the region needs about US$360 million investment in power sector alone, hence more incentives are needed to build a sustainable ecosystem such as capacity building to drive down the cost of renewables. Although there is a significant progress in RE penetration, yet in other AMS there is still a significant gap in RE development. In ASEAN case, the current policies need to be enhanced to achieve its regional target. ASEAN could step up its decarbonization effort while also ensuring the energy security through the implementation of clean and coal technology. 

ASEAN Energy and Utilities Digital Week

After delivering the welcoming remarks, Dr. Nuki also invited to present in the special talk session. Opening the presentation, he started to explained that there is a significant increase which about 50% increase of energy demand from 2005 until 2017 with 662,569 Ktoe energy supply and 393,245 energy consumption. This energy landscape is expected to increase more rapidly in the future. Hence through its ASEAN energy blueprint, called APAEC, ASEAN has set its strategies to cope with this expected growing demand. There are seven key strategies in APAEC phase II: 1) ASEAN Power Grid, to expand regional multilateral electricity trading, strengthen grid resilience and modernization, and promote clean and RE integration. 2) Trans-ASEAN Gas Pipeline, to pursue the development of a common gas market for ASEAN by enhancing gas and LNG connectivity and accessibility. 3) Clean Coal Technology, to optimize the role of CCT in facilitating the transition towards sustainable and lower emission development and as part of decarbonization activities. 4) Energy Efficiency and Conservation, to reduce energy intensity by 32% by 2025 and encourage EE&C efforts, especially in transport and industry. 5) Renewable Energy, to increase the share of RE to 23% in TPES and 35% in installed power capacity by 2025. 6) Regional Energy Policy and Planning, to advance energy policy and planning to accelerate the region’s energy transition and resilience. 7) Civilian Nuclear Energy, to build human resources capabilities on nuclear science and technology for power generation.  

Focusing on the RE, Dr. Nuki explained that APAEC has 6 outcome-based strategies and 16 action plans. First, advance RE policy and decarbonization pathway. Second, conduct high level policy dialogue on RE. Third, enhance RE research & development. Fourth, promote RE financing schemes and mechanisms. Fifth, support biofuel and bioenergy development. Sixth, enhance RE information and training center. The targeted scenario is based on Power Development Plan (PDP) agreed between AMS. Nevertheless, in modelling, based on PDP most of AMS only achieve 18% meaning there is still a gap to achieve the APAEC target in the share of RE in TPES. Looking at RE, power installed generation cannot be neglected. Currently, power generation in ASEAN is 1,081,313 GWh while in Europe 2,806,000 GWh meaning that ASEAN need twenty years to have and equal power generation with the Europe’s now. Also, the biggest share of power generation in ASEAN is still dominated by fossil fuel, which are coal, natural gas, and oil.  

Further discussion, Dr. Nuki also shared some insights regarding to the multiplier effects on electricity sector in 2020 – 2021 from COVID-19 pandemic. The effects are fall of electricity demand, net profit loss of electricity sales, increase of vulnerable groups, further financial loss to provide electricity tariff relief, redesign of PDP, and delay of power plants. But there are also some builds back better in 2021 for example the positive outlook of GDP with 6% growth in 2021 in Malaysia, Singapore experienced gradual increase of electricity price in Q3 after its lowest level in the past 20 years in April 2020. Another issue in decarbonization in ASEAN power sector is the notable increase in solar and wind and further reduction in fossil fuel-based plant, High Efficiency Low Emission (HELE) coal technologies are adopted such as supercritical and ultra-supercritical and phase out of fossil-fuel based power plant.  

Move to the panel discussion, the first discussion came from Mr. John Bruce Wells under the topic of “Solar & Wind: Challenges and Opportunities” focusing on large-scale solar and especially for private sector that further explained about the challenging international businesses in wind and solar markets in Vietnam due to the lack leading practices. The next speakers are Dr. Supatchalee Sophonthammaphat and Dr. Robert Edyvean discussing about bioenergy and biofuels: status and their role in ASEAN RE mix and focusing on Thailand policy and planning about net-zero emission, also comparing the efforts to reach the zero emission in EU, UK and ASEAN. Mr. Scott. C. Bartos continued the discussion and shared about distributed generation and integration of RE in ASEAN started off by mentioning US policy priorities in climate change and also sharing the target and achievement that USAID done in ASEAN in collaboration with ACE. The next speaker is Dr. Nitus Voraphonpiput, presented about ASEAN smart power grid. It is said that the idea of ASEAN power grid is to connect the region to enhance the electricity that would benefit to meet the electricity demand in ASEAN. The last topic is “The Future of Home Storage and EV technology” by Mr. Jason Venning. He gave an overview of battery-ready solar and battery technologies for the home, connecting EV chargers to solar and said that adding batteries to a new solar system is possible and more efficient.  

ASEAN Energy and Utilities Digital Week

After finishing the panel discussion, there was a Q&A session where the speakers will answer several questions regarding to their presentation. And to wrap up today’s session, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Bundit Fungtammasan shared the key takeaways from the discussion earlier:  

  • According to APAEC plan, ASEAN committed to 23% share in TPES and 35% in power by 2025 
  • ASEAN interconnection and smart grid will enable high share of vRE and to achieve ASEAN RE target and long term decarbonization 
  • Vietnam’s DPPA could accelerate RE investment opportunities, help to achieve sustainability commitment 
  • International cooperation and R&D include impact of EV and biofuels, RE100 factory 
  • Socio-economic and sustainability issue are concerned for bioenergy 
  • USAID collaboration to decarbonize and achieve more resilient and secure Southeast Asia 
  • ASEAN Smart Power Grid requires fully integrated infrastructure, trading mechanism, regional system generation and planning, with the pending issue of cost and security 
  • With digitalization, solar-batter system and V2G can enable home self-sufficiency and grid stabilization. Government incentives help accelerating the take up. 
  • RE development needs technology innovation, local development and capacity building; however, path to carbon neutrality must consider not only technology and environment impact but also the cost. 

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