Southeast Asian countries tout links with green energy ahead of COP26

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei speaks at the ASEAN Virtual Summit hosted by the ASEAN Brunei Summit in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei on October 26, 2021. (Summit host photo / handout by ASEAN 2021 via Reuters)

SINGAPORE – Southeast Asian countries are accelerating their renewable energy transmission plans through a regional power grid project, with first trials slated for 2022, as region strives to meet targets climate change, government and company officials said.

Some members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are also exploring carbon capture storage (CCS) technology to reduce emissions, officials said at the International Week conference. energy in Singapore this week. ASEAN has proposed that 23% of primary energy come from renewable sources by 2025.

These announcements precede the United Nations COP26 climate summit which will begin on October 31 in Glasgow, seen as one of the last opportunities for countries to announce firm emission reduction targets this decade.

“We have heard very positive announcements in terms of investments in renewable energy,” said Gauri Singh, deputy director general of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

“ASEAN really plans to produce almost a quarter of the energy from renewables by 2025 – it’s a very ambitious goal that it has set itself, but I think international cooperation and regional cooperation will play a very important role. very important role.

Singapore will start importing renewable electricity from Malaysia by 2022 and later that year ASEAN utilities will start transmitting the first 100 megawatts (MW) of electricity under a project. Laos-Thailand-Malaysia-Singapore electrical integration within the framework of a regional network project.

The ASEAN grid, an idea first proposed in 1999 to strengthen regional energy security, will now facilitate the transport of renewable energy. Australia has also been asked for its green energy supplies with plans to export to Singapore.

“With the power sector accounting for nearly a quarter of global emissions, decarbonising power generation is at the heart of the global effort against climate change,” said Gan Kim Yong, Singaporean Minister of Commerce and of Industry, in a speech at the event.

Singapore, which depends on natural gas for almost all of its power generation, plans to import up to 4 gigawatts (GW) of low-carbon electricity by 2035, or about 30% of its total supply.

Singapore group Sunseap and Sembcorp Industries and Indonesian PLN Batam and PT Trisurya Mitra Bersama (Suryagen) signed agreements this week on new solar energy projects.

Singapore also plans to launch standards and guidelines for renewable energy certificates that will allow businesses to purchase credits that verify their electricity is from renewable sources.

Yet many ASEAN countries need to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels in their electricity generation mix to meet their climate goals.

For countries that still rely heavily on coal for electricity, CCS could be a solution to reducing emissions, said Arifin Tasrif, Indonesia’s Minister of Energy and Natural Resources.

“The ASEAN region is still in some ways dependent on coal power… this situation needs to be carefully considered when preparing our path to carbon neutrality, and significant efforts need to be made,” Tasrif said. .

Carbon capture technology is very important to Indonesia’s strategy to meet its net zero emissions targets, and the country will start using it by 2030, he said.

Exxon Mobil Corp is looking for CCS hubs across Asia and has started discussions with countries on potential carbon dioxide storage options.

Certainly, the region will still need new regulations and massive investments in modernizing and connecting networks across borders.

ASEAN will need at least $ 367 billion over the next five years to fund its energy goals, ASEAN Secretary General Lim Jock Hoi said.

The bloc must improve its investment environment and also expand beyond its current sources of funding to achieve its energy transition goals, he added.

“There is still a lot to do,” Lim said. “(There is a) need to improve the investment environment for the energy transition, and to expand beyond our current sources of funding.”

– Report by Koustav Samanta, Fathin Ungku and Roslan Khasawneh in Singapore; Editing by Florence Tan and Christian Schmollinger

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