ASEAN on a mission towards a sustainable energy future
Jakarta. Asean strives to ensure a sustainable energy future, as it aims to optimize biofuels and clean coal technologies, among others, as part of its flagship energy cooperation plan, according to a recent discussion with the group of reflection on the energy of the block.
The 2016-2025 ASEAN Action Plan for Energy Cooperation (APAEC) is currently underway, dividing the timeline into two five-year phases.
Asean reported that the first phase, which lasted from 2016 to 2020, had given excellent results, as it achieved a 13.9% share of renewable energies in its total primary energy supply in 2018. .
In the second phase, the renewable energy share target is increased to 23% by 2025. To this end, ASEAN plans to further promote biofuels, particularly in the high-emission transport sector. .
“Southeast Asia has an abundant source of biomass. Biofuel is one of the main energies that we plan to tap into significantly for the transport sector,” said Nuki Agya Utama, executive director of the Asean Center for Energy (ACE). the Jakarta Globe in an interview.
“The region is home to many leading biofuel experts, research institutes and industries. So it is not difficult for biofuels to enter the transport sector,” he said.
The 6th Asean Energy Outlook (AEO6) reported that in 2019, four Asean member states, including Indonesia, had imposed biofuels policies. Indonesia itself currently has a B30 blending mandate, which requires its diesel fuel to contain a 30 percent blend of palm oil-based biofuel.
As part of APAEC Phase II, Asean seeks to optimize clean coal technology by deploying more efficient and less emissive supercritical and ultra-supercritical power plants.
“In addition to removing all [of the less efficient] sub-critical power plants, we introduce the mixture of coal and biomass or co-combustion for the production of electricity. This will [enable] affordable electricity while reducing emissions from coal, ”said Nuki.
About 83% of Asean’s installed coal-fired power capacity currently uses sub-critical technology. In 2019, the region had 10,020 megawatts of installed high-efficiency, low-emissions coal capacity. Of that number, more than half came from ultra-supercriticals, according to the AEO6.
But ASEAN’s journey to a sustainable energy future requires a large amount of investment.
In the scenario of the objectives of the APAEC (APS), Asean would need a substantial energy investment of about 508 billion dollars until 2040. As its name suggests, the APS takes into account the steps necessary to achieve APAEC’s objectives.
The AEO6 attributes the greater investment needs in PSA to the higher cost of cleaner technologies in the early years.
“We need international funding programs, and it depends on each member state how they deal with financial institutions,” Nuki said.
“Financial companies like the AfDB are trying to stop funding coal-fired power plants. But at the same time, the region is also trying to significantly reduce emissions from coal-fired power plants by shutting down all subcriticals and investing more in ultra-supercritical and supercritical to maintain the stability of the power grid, “he said. he adds.
Meanwhile, ASEAN is working closely with Germany in its energy programs.
During the discussion, Sergey Makarov – the senior adviser of the Asean-Germany Energy Program (AGEP) – shared his perspective on how the bloc can improve its investment climate.
Simplified investment regulations can open the door to more investment, especially in the energy sector, according to Sergey.
“Second, the investment scheme must be long-term and straightforward. […] APAEC gives the private sector an indication of where it will go in ten years and what goes beyond. Companies can plan their investments accordingly and calculate their risks, ”he told The Globe.
The investment climate must also be inclusive with wide access to create competition between private companies.
Sergey also suggested that Asean could also look at the potential of electric vehicles (EVs) in the longer term.
“Corn [EVs] would require investments in infrastructure such as charging stations. [We should also explore] topics on batteries, as well as the construction of specific investment programs to incentivize the introduction of electric vehicles, ”Sergey said.
“Electric vehicles are something I would see coming to the area. However, it would take some time to [EVs] be fully utilized, while biofuel is something we can focus on soon with existing capacities and R&D centers, ”he added.