ASEAN member states must accelerate clean energy efforts, IRENA urges

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states require support and assistance to accelerate their clean energy adoption rates if they are to achieve their 2025 target of 23% renewables penetration, reports the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) today.

Currently on track to reach a not-too-shabby 17% renewable penetration by that date, ASEAN states should nevertheless press ahead with bold financing and installation plans over the next few years if they are to mitigate the effects of rising energy demand across the region.

A joint IRENA and ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE) report outlines the potentials, costs and benefits of renewables in the region, and provides detailed technological and sectoral options that ASEAN countries can embrace in order to close the gap between current and targeted share of renewables.

According to IRENA, energy demand among ten countries in the region – notably Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam – will increase 50% between now and 2025. As a result, CO2 emissions are set to increase by 60%, leading to an estimated $225 billion annual bill in associated health and pollution costs.

To mitigate this risk, IRENA calculates that if the region can source 23% of its power demand from clean energy sources such as solar and wind by that point, the savings generated will be greater than the increased investment required to reach that goal.

"ASEAN member states are endowed with some of the best renewable energy resources in the world," said IRENA director-general Adnan Z. Amin. "The analysis from IRENA and ACE shows that reaching the 23% target in the ASEAN region is not only feasible, but cheaper than the alternative. Doing so, however, will require more emphasis on renewables across all sectors, including heating, cooking and transport."

IRENA’s director of innovation and technology, Dolf Gielen, added that the hope is this study – titled Renewable Energy Outlook for ASEAN – a REmap analysis – can help to chart the course for more action on renewables in the ASEAN region. "While the share of renewables each member state can realistically achieve varies, the fact remains that all ASEAN countries can contribute to the 23% goal in their own way," Gielen said.

Support for IRENA’s efforts in the region has been forthcoming from Germany’s GIZ and the country’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).