Assessing the Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Energy and Climate Change in ASEAN

Last Updated: 21 April 2021

Since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11, the cases of the coronavirus illness have surpassed millions, spreading rapidly to more than 200 countries and territories around the world. Countries in the Southeast Asia region are not inevitable from this crisis. As of now, all 10 ASEAN Member States have been experiencing the growing confirmed case. It does not only present challenges towards public health but also disrupts other sectors, including energy and climate change.

Based on our recent survey, COVID-19 is affecting fossil fuels the most, but renewable energy is also considered to be hit. A positive temporary effect on the climate must be used to mainstream the information about climate change mitigation into the society, must involve in a more sustainable economy, and environmental-friendly activities into daily lives.

Here, we provide various updated information and analysis on the energy and climate change in ASEAN in related to COVID-19.

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ASEAN | Brunei Darussalam | Cambodia | Indonesia | Lao PDR | Malaysia | Myanmar | Philippines | Singapore | Thailand | Vietnam


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Brunei Darussalam

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Key Policy Responses

The authorities have issued a reduction of electricity tariffs for five months starting from June, specifically for manufacturing, agriculture, commercial, and service firms. The bill is expected to be reduced by 25 percent, as a government’s effort to sustain the business operations in those four key sectors.

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Key Policy Responses

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Indonesia took another step back toward a clean energy economy due to fossil fuel subsidies and hampered clean power plant projects such as geothermal. Indonesia introduces a domestic coal price of $20 below market price in January and set a subsidised fuel quota at 26.87 million kiloliters (mL) as a government position to protect the people’s purchasing power and ensure the business community.

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Key Policy Responses

The authorities issued the Relief and Public Sector Expenditure Measures to Reduce the Impact from the COVID-19 Pandemic. Relief measures are primarily concerned with tax relief such as salary tax exemption, Deferment of payments for affected businesses, Profit tax exemption for micro-enterprises, etc. Meanwhile Public Sector Expenditures maintain large-scale investment project through the reduction of administrative expenses.

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Key Policy Responses

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the government deferred the implementation of the national B20 program due to lower crude palm oil (CPO) demand and focus response to resources. The government also decided to extend discounts offered on electricity bills, as announced under the Prihatin Economic Stimulus Package, until December 2020.

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Key Policy Responses

The authorities scheduled to resume two of five emergency power projects by May should be up and running by September. In addition, the government will be extending the deadline for the monthly power tariff in Yangon as part of measures to avoid unnecessary mass gathering during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Key Policy Responses

In April, The authorities will provide free electricity for March and April to support low-income households during the COVID-19 pandemic. They also cancel penalties, interest, and fees for late payment. The collapse of world oil prices did not shake the Philippines because they were not oil exporters. Then, In May, the Philippines President temporarily increased tariffs on imported crude oil and refined petroleum products aimed at mitigating the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak. Since July, the Department of Energy (DOE) is advancing a policy re-casting that will allow full ownership in renewable energy (RE) projects.

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Key Policy Responses

In May, the authorities consider that the crisis due to COVID-19 is an opportunity to accelerate the transition of energy towards safe and sustainable energy. They plan to continue to develop low-carbon energy and continue to decarbonize their energy systems.

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Key Policy Responses

In April, Even with this COVID-19 pandemic going around the world, Thailand still aims to become a regional LNG hub and keeps factories running by cutting electricity charges. Not only for factories, but they also cutting electricity charges for 22 million houses. In June, State-owned Thai oil and gas company, PTT Pcl, cut its investment budget by 10-15% whilst Committee on Energy Policy Administration (CEPA) extends discounts on LPG for households and NGV for taxis.

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Key Policy Responses

In March, The authorities have announced that there will be no price increases until the end of Q2 while promoting renewables by approving regulation towards cheaper green energy, even during this COVID-19 pandemic. While in April, The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) has decided to cut power bills for businesses and households by 10 percent over the next three months,

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