Southeast Asia, here comes the sun
2018 should be the year that surge in solar will come to Southeast Asia. This was headlined from the 35th Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) Ministers on Energy Meeting.
ASEAN nations are projected to see their energy needs grow 80 percent to 2040—the third biggest jump in the world, after China and India—as the region’s economy more than triples in size, and its population rises by almost a quarter to 760 million. ASEAN nations include the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand.
In particular, electricity demand from the region is set to triple by 2040. Overall, total demand growth will be equivalent to 14 percent of all global energy demand in 2040.
Given this, Philippine Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi called on energy investors and policy officials to find new ways to meet the region's sizeable energy needs.
But not just any energy source will suffice. Secretary Cusi stressed the importance of clean energy in new investments.
"ASEAN is committed to a future of renewables," he said. "From reduced carbon footprints to lower emissions to cleaner air, we know how important it is that we invest in the future of renewable energy sources," Cusi said, adding that the region must aim for the goal of grid parity.
Grid parity occurs when alternative energy source can generate power at cheap or cheaper rate than electricity purchased from the electrical grid.
This call comes at an opportune time for homes, businesses, and stakeholders from the solar sector. Southeast Asian nations are confident and are gearing up for increased solar investments—with each taking a unique path.
Vietnam is partnering with the World Bank to implement a pilot auction program for solar projects.
The Philippines, too, could unlock the full potential of its renewable energy sources, especially solar. Solaready PH recommends further study of the potential for renewable electrification, and development of policies and regulatory frameworks for attracting investments and private sector engagement; as well as the continued public awareness to ensure sustained political support and commitment.