Transforming ASEAN Energy - Beyond the 'Cheap vs Green' dilemma
Over the past fifteen years, ASEAN economies have experienced strong growth in energy and electricity demand. This is driven by increasing GDP per capita, growing populations, and high energy intensity of GDP. Access to electricity has also improved significantly.
Historically, several economies in the region have benefited from natural national gas reserves. This has led to relatively high share of gas in the primary fuel mix. In addition, the steady rise in energy demand combined with high gas prices has led to a strong growth in coal consumption. Renewable energy sources have also only grown modestly as costs remained high, until very recently.
However, the region may soon be moving past the 'Cheap vs Green' dilemma. On one hand, LNG is no longer as expensive compared to coal. On the other, there is a rising demand for less carbon-intensive energy sources and cleaner air. Finally, the cost of electric generated from renewable energy is on part grid-based electricity in some cases. While some barriers still stand in the way of the region's energy transformation, they are now balanced by powerful enablers. Under these circumstances, the region seems poised to experience a huge transformation in the energy landscape.
As part of our Greening of Asia project, the IISS has done in-depth research on the changing economy of energy in ASEAN countries. The purpose of the roundtable is to present some of our work and listen to policy practitioners and thought-leaders from across the region, as they reflect on the ongoing and future changes in ASEAN energy policy.