Jakarta, 15 March 2021
The COP26 Energy Transition Council (ETC) was established in 2020, bringing together the global political, financial and technical leadership in the power sector to work together to accelerate the transition from coal to clean power.
Following the first COP26 ETC ministerial meeting on 4 December 2020, a series of national working-level dialogues for each participating country are conducted.
Following the participation in the previous ASEAN’s event: ASEAN-COP26 Climate Dialogue on Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and Long-Term Strategies (LTS) on 24-25 September 2020, ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE) was also participated in the national dialogues, namely Lao PDR, Vietnam and the Philippines.
ETC National Dialogue with Lao PDR
Held on 4 March 2021, ACE was represented by Dr Akbar Swandaru. In the session, he shared that Lao PDR has a huge potential for renewable energy resource, especially hydro and solar and this creates a path to establish multilateral power trade, ultimately into a regional power pool under ASEAN Power Grid Integration Initiative. ACE’s study, ASEAN Interconnection Master Plan Study III, a work which endorsed by Heads of ASEAN Power Utilities/Authorities (HAPUA) under the 38th ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting (AMEM) 2017, shows that could push the solar potential higher by 2025, adding more RE share in their generation mix, and thus letting Lao PDR to participate more in the regional power pool activity.
He also briefed the meeting on the latest development regarding Renewable Energy Certificates (REC). The development of REC may take into place along with the country’s initiatives. Our study, ASEAN Interconnection Masterplan Study III were meant to establish multilateral power trade, in the long run. However, according to the Renewable Energy Subsector Network (RE-SSN) and Regional Energy Policy and Planning Sub-sector Network (REPP-SSN) have already propose REC into the draft of action by this year.
ETC National Dialogue with Vietnam
Held on 5 March 2021, ACE was represented by Dr Zulfikar Yurnaidi, Senior Research Analyst of ASEAN Climate Change and Energy Project (ACCEPT). ACE was invited to provide intervention on a session that was focused on the grid readiness, especially amid the potential higher penetration of variable renewable energy (vRE), such as solar and wind. Zulfikar shared that one of the programme areas within the ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation (APAEC), ASEAN Power Grid, has key strategy of expand regional multilateral electricity trading, strengthen grid resilience and modernisation, and promote clean and renewable energy integration. This is in line with the effort and challenge of Vietnam.
With the ambitious targets of 15-20% share of renewable energy in total power generation by 2030, the country can utilise its huge potential of hydro (21 GW) and solar (12 GW) among others. Zulfikar argued also that even by 2025, looking at the trajectory of vRE increase in Vietnam, there is a great need of grid strengthening, through improvement of transmission backbone.
Such endeavour can be supported by the regional power trade, which can help balance and absorb the intermittency of vRE, especially with the hydro-rich neighbouring countries. ASEAN Interconnection Masterplan Study shows that there is currently a 220 kV interconnections between Viet Nam and Cambodia with around 200MW power transfer. Moreover, there is also a line between Vietnam and Lao PDR. A bigger potential of power trade can be opened with Thailand through Cambodia. With higher vRE penetrations and higher power transfer, Vietnam may consider upgrading its interconnections, such as increasing the voltage level to 500kV, increasing maximum power trade, and improving its resilience.
Last, with a regional target of reaching 23% renewable energy share in total primary energy supply (TPES), Vietnam with its rapid increase of renewable energy can be become one of the pillars for ASEAN’s renewable energy sector. Further, Vietnam can also become the northern power house, and to do so, it definitely needs to improve their infrastructure for greater potential to enable power trade.
ECT National Dialogue with the Philippines
Beni Suryadi, Manager of Power, Fossil Fuel, Alternative Energy and Storage of ACE who are also ACCEPT Project Manager spoke representing ACE, as an intergovernmental organisation that representing the interest of 10 countries in Southeast Asia region, including the Philippines, on energy cooperation, as guided by our regional blueprint on energy cooperation, called as the ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation (APAEC) 2016-2025, Phase 2, with the sub-theme “Accelerating Energy Transition and Strengthening Energy Resilience through Greater Innovation and Cooperation”.
As highlighted in this regional blueprint, ACE supports the ASEAN Member States, including the Philippines – who are part of member states, our governing council and SOME Member as well, H.E Alfonso Cusi and his team at Department of Energy, in their energy transition and it includes the support to improve reliability of energy services.
This could be in a form to support the implementation of APAEC that directly relate with the Philippines’s priority as well as DOE’s Energy Reform Agenda’s ‘Energy Access and the provision of access to reliable and affordable energy services to the larger population to fuel local productivity and countryside development, or through our ASEAN Climate Change and Energy Project (ACCEPT) that also support the member states in pursuing Affordable and Clean Energy for a Resilient Economy in ASEAN Communities.
Reliability of energy service can be done through grid strengthening, and can be made not only through adding transmission backbone, but also by promoting energy access to the sitios which mostly scattered in rural area by strategically using Renewable Energy Target to lower generation costs, enhance service reliability, extend service hours and avoid the use of fossil fuel, and exploiting technology choices that are based on least-cost approach in order to wisely use the limited resources available for electrification.
Under our on-going study on the ASEAN Interconnection Masterplan Study (AIMS) III, for the Philippines, in our 2040 projections, if above can be done right, comprehensively and in timely manner, it will potentially provide a saving at USD 1.18 Billion from fuel, operation, and maintenance cost.
Due to its’ geographical challenge, interconnection with other ASEAN Member States will profound challenge today. However, we foresee this could be beneficial in the long term on providing the Philippines grid reliability of energy services, positively assuming the technology will be out there at an economic level when it is needed.
As ACE, through ACCEPT, is actively supporting the ASEAN Member States in energy-climate nexus, under its cooperation with COP26 Energy Transition Council, ACE will be participating as well in its regional event which is scheduled for 23 March 2021.
ACE, as the official secretariat and think tank for energy cooperation in the region stands ready to support the Energy Transition of all ASEAN Member States, in collaboration with all Dialogue Partners and International Organisations and all relevant stakeholders.