According to the Asian Utility Week in 2019, Southeast Asia’s strong economic growth has relied on inexpensive fossil fuel deals for the past years. With challenges such as climate change, and economic hardships brought by the Covid-19 pandemic, there is a global need to transition to renewable energy solutions.
While Southeast Asia in adoption of renewable energy alternatives, the region faces a paradigm shift as the industry will have to balance affordability, sustainability, and security.
Moreover, Southeast Asia’s energy demand is set to boom over the coming decades along with its growing population. A two-third increase in demand and an additional 150 million energy users is foreseen by the International Energy Agency (IEA). That’s one-tenth of the rise in global demand as Southeast Asia’s economy triples in size.
Also, Bloomberg’s New Energy Finance (NEF) estimates that by 2050, 58 percent of the power mix will be renewable energy with the help of photovoltaics. It’s essentially a tool that helps bring down fossil fuel dependence down from today’s 84 percent.
Given the context and high importance of renewable energy, some energy trends in Southeast Asia are being observed.
Sustainable Architecture Solutions
Buildings, whether commercial or residential are some of the biggest consumers of energy nowadays, and one of the innovative ways for this challenge are adopting sustainable architecture principles. Constructing structures with Mother Earth in mind achieves economic, social, and environmental improvements as it lowers greenhouse emissions, lowers energy and water use, and are generally more comfortable for people. The iconic green facade of Parkroyal in Singapore highlights how popular green buildings are in the region.
Electric Vehicles on the Roads
There’s no denying the practicality of electric vehicles over conventional ones. They run on batteries that kill the need to refuel. They’re also quieter and produce zero air pollution. Southeast Asian countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Philippines and Vietnam are all making progress in widespread use of electric vehicles. Malaysia in particular, is currently gearing up to build 125,000 charging stations.
Rise of Smart Cities
Smart cities that are optimized for conservation will continue to rise with the launch of the “100 Smart City Movement”. Indonesia lead the launch in 2017, and the organization’s goal is to create a platform where ASEAN cities can share inputs to one another on the subject of adopting smart and sustainable technology, and where they can connect with industry and gloal partners. Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam is a model figure in the organization, with its cloud computing infrastructure, building data warehouses, and open data ecosystem that’s all optimized into augmenting the city’s conservation efforts.
Declining Coal Power Market
Southeast Asian countries will continue to shift focus on renewable energy sources, mainly solar energy as time progresses. Given that trend, it’s no surprise that investments in the coal power sector are expected to decline. To give context, Thailand plans move up their plans to increase renewable energy capacity to 30 percent to 2030 instead of 2036. Malaysia plans to generate 20 percent of the country’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030. Vietnam on the other hand, is looking into generating 1.6 percent through sustainable means this 2020. Also, Indonesia is drafting a roadmap for marine energy development in the period of 2018 to 2025.