The 2nd edition of the Renewable Energy Outlook for ASEAN: Towards a regional energy transition, showed that ‘significant’ regional business and investment opportunities could be created by doubling renewable power in the region by 2030.
By continuing to develop renewables, electrification, and emerging technologies such as hydrogen and batteries, ASEAN members could meet net-zero emission targets and use clean energy to replace conventional coal power.
Stating that Southeast Asia stands at an ‘historic crossroad’ between moving away from fossil fuels and towards a renewable energy transition, Francesco La Camera, Director-General, IRENA, added, “Coal retirement, coupled with renewables and regional grid interconnection, is an indispensable step to aligning with net-zero targets.”
“Half of ASEAN members have signed up to international efforts to end coal in the power Sector. Climate commitments require concerted and accelerated action that must begin now to have a hope of success.”
According to IRENA, renewables have become the cheapest power option in much of Southeast Asia, with renewable capacity additions cost-effectively increasing up to 40% of total power capacity by 2030 compared to one-quarter today – equal to around 300 GW (gigawatts) of new renewable capacity installations.
To boost renewables in the national energy mix, IRENA suggests further investment into renewable power, transmission, biofuels, energy efficiency, hydrogen and electromobility, areas that it predicts could amount to over $6 trillion cumulatively to 2050.
By reducing fossil fuel energy production, the study explained that countries could reduce energy costs by as much as $160bn to 2050, avoiding costs associated with health and environmental damage.
Set to play a key role in the global energy transition, electrification and clean hydrogen production could also decarbonise hard-to-abate sectors such as shipping and heavy manufacturing industrial processes.
Such initiatives are guided by the ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation (APAEC) Phase II, which outlines the region’s energy transition strategy.
“Guided by APAEC Phase II, ASEAN is committed to achieve 23% renewables share in total primary energy supply by 2025,” revealed Dr. Nuki Agya Utama, Executive Director of the ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE).