The pivot towards clean energy and renewables will continue gaining traction in Asia, as countries in the region take unique approaches to facilitate a green economic recovery and meet future energy demands.
On 20 January, the SIEW Energy Insights Webinar, co-hosted with the Atlantic Council and supported by the British Chamber of Commerce Singapore, gathered industry leaders to discuss energy transition in Asia and pathways to a resilient and sustainable energy system in the region.
This webinar was held as part of the Global Energy Forum. Rida Mulyana, Director General for Electricity at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources of Indonesia delivered the keynote address. Mulyana outlined some of the steps Indonesia is taking to build a more sustainable energy system—highlighting that a shift to renewables is key to revitalising the economy and strengthening energy resilience.
Following the keynote address there was a lively panel discussion featuring Professor Masakazu Toyoda, Chairman and CEO, Institute of Energy Economics, Japan (IEEJ); Dr Zhai Yongping, Chief of Energy Sector Group, Asian Development Bank; Beni Suryadi, Manager of Power, Fossil Fuel, Alternative Energy and Storage, ASEAN Centre for Energy and Allard Nooy, CEO of InfraCo Asia and Co-Chair for the BritCham Singapore Energy and Utility Committee. The session was moderated by Margaret Jackson, Deputy Director for Climate and Advanced Energy in the Atlantic Council's Global Energy Center.
Reshaping the ASEAN energy landscape with renewables
Allard Nooy, CEO of InfraCo Asia, shared an overview of renewable energy targets in different countries across the ASEAN region. With countries setting ambitious targets for decarbonisation, Mr Nooy underscored the importance of harnessing solar and wind power as complementary renewable energy sources that are commercially viable.
Mr Nooy also touched on the potential for Asian countries to become leaders in clean energy technology and low carbon innovation to accelerate energy transition.
Beni Suryadi, Manager of Power, Fossil Fuel, Alternative Energy and Storage, at the ASEAN Centre for Energy, echoed the need for increased efforts in renewables adoption and energy efficiency developments beyond existing national targets.
“Despite the impact of COVID-19, ASEAN’s GDP is projected to nearly triple by 2040, which will give rise to significant energy demands,” Mr Suryadi noted. To meet current and future energy demands, substantial investments in the power sector are required—and investments as such will further create more job opportunities and reduce the social cost of energy in the region.
Game changers for low carbon energy developments
Given the growing demand for energy especially in developing economies, Professor Masakazu Toyoda, Chairman and CEO at the IEEJ, expects fossil fuels to remain part of the region’s energy mix for the foreseeable future.
His views are that while renewables and nuclear energy are key to achieving net-zero ambitions, governments in Asia have to consider how best to leverage hydrogen, low-carbon ammonia and carbon capture and storage (CCS) solutions to help reduce and manage emissions.
Professor Toyoda further elaborated on the low carbon developments that present game-changing potential for Japan and the Asia Pacific region—with an emphasis on how progress can be accelerated through multilateral collaboration and knowledge sharing between nations.
Expanding on the innovations ahead for low carbon energy transition, Dr Zhai Yongping, Chief of Energy Sector Group, Asian Development Bank, underscored the importance of having strong policies that align with global sustainable development goals.
Dr Zhai outlined three critical actions that will help propel developments in Asia—developing clear policies, investing in clean energy projects, and driving new technology innovation. He added that in anticipation of an increasing share of renewables, policymakers have to ensure a conducive regulatory environment that facilitates renewables and clean energy technology investments for the future.
A key takeaway from the panel discussion is that there remain vast opportunities to accelerate the integration of low carbon solutions into the region's energy systems. Looking ahead, the panellists expressed optimism for closer, long-term collaboration between governments to drive Asia’s energy transition to net-zero.
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