South East Asia’s appetite for energy will see its demands grow by an incredible two thirds in the next 20 years. By 2030, it is anticipated that the ASEAN will become the fourth largest energy consumer in the world, hence it is very timely that the region to discuss the energy issues and challenge which lies ahead in the horizon. On 3-5 September 2019, Thailand, as ASEAN Chairman for 2019 hosted the 37th annual ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting (AMEM) and its associated meeting, including the ASEAN Energy Business Forum 2019 at the The Athenee Hotel, Bangkok,Thailand.
During three days under the Thailand Chairmanship theme of “Advancing Partnership of Sustainability”, ASEAN Energy Ministers, Government officials and heads of National Power Authorities from all 10 ASEAN member states and various ASEAN Dialogue Partners convene to discuss the progress and efforts of the region in implementing the ASEAN Plan of Action on Energy Cooperation (APAEC) 2016-2025. The meeting acknowledged that the region has reached its energy efficiency target thus far as well as the important role of the successful LaoPDR-Thailand-Malaysia power integration project in enhancing multilateral power trade in ASEAN.
The Ministers of ASEAN also acknowledged the good progress in the development of the APAECPhase2(2021–2025)and the various initiatives by ASEAN Centre for Energy(ACE), such as the successful publication of various energy articles, guidelines and books to the ongoing preparation of the 6th ASEAN Energy Outlook, and the enhanced ASEAN Energy Database System (AEDS) as a regional data platform, which is online at https://aeds.aseanenergy.org. It is a useful tool to disseminate information about ASEAN that will help in policy design and implementation. The Vice Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources of Indonesia H.E.Arcandra Tahar also visited the booth and expressed his support on the activities as well as discussing the current ASEAN power grid activities done by ACE.
On bioenergy and biofuels promotion, the Ministers welcomed the conclusion of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between ACE and the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) of Thailand. The MoU will support higher utilisation of bioenergy, human resource capacity development, and the work towards the establishment of an ASEAN Bioenergy Research and Development (R&D) Network Centre in the region. Related MOUs with universities in Indonesia and Japan have been concluded by ACE to promote the R&D network on renewable energy technology development and utilisation within the region.
ASEAN reach the lowest energy intensity and even beyond 2020 target, ACE is currently working with AMS on ensuring the renewable energy target will meet 23% in 2025%, said Dr. Nuki Agya Utama, who was also welcomed by the Ministers as the new Executive Director of ACE.
In conjunction with the Minister meeting, ASEAN Energy Business forum (AEBF) 2019 was also held as held as a side event. The fora successfully gathered like-minded energy stakeholders by having 100 speakers and 225 attendees from around the globe to participate in the conference. The next 38th AMEM will be organized in September 2020 in Hanoi, Vietnam.