Asean can cover two-thirds of energy demand with renewables, says Irena
21 Sep 2022
Southeast Asian countries can meet their growing energy demand with renewables, and cut 75% of their energy-related CO2 emissions by 2050, half of the emissions compared to today.
The International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) in its “Renewable Energy Outlook for Asean: Towards a regional energy transition” report released recently said that almost doubling renewable power by 2030 creates significant regional business and investment opportunities.
Irena director-general Francesco La Camera said with its massive renewable potential, Southeast Asia stands at a historic crossroad between moving away from fossil fuels and towards a renewable energy transition that meets the region’s economic growth and rising energy demand.
He said 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,” he said.
Meanwhile, Asean Centre for Energy executive director Dr Nuki Agya Utama said accelerating the energy transition is crucial in order to meet climate goals and support the region’s economic growth.
“Guided by Phase II of the Asean Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation, Asean is committed to achieving 23% renewables share in total primary energy supply by 2025.
“Moreover, the regional blueprint includes the optimisation of clean coal technology as one of its programme areas,” he said.
Irena said that as renewables have become the cheapest power option in much of Southeast Asia, renewable capacity additions can cost-effectively increase up to 40% of total power capacity by 2030 compared to one-quarter today.
It said this means around 300 gigawatts of new renewable capacity installations, most of it solar and wind.
The agency said significant investment is needed to boost renewables in national energy mixes, but overall costs are balanced by substantial savings on supply and fuel costs.
It said Asean’s investment in renewables must almost triple the current levels.
Investment opportunities include renewable power, transmission, biofuels, energy efficiency, hydrogen and electromobility, and can amount to over US$6 trillion (RM27.4 trillion) cumulatively by 2050.
Irena said countries can reduce their energy costs by as much as US$160 billion to 2050.
Overall, the avoidance of costs related to health and environmental damage caused by fossil fuels can bring savings of up to US$1.5 trillion cumulatively to 2050.
Source: The Edge Markets