USAID Clean Power Asia
Harnessing the power of renewable energy for a sustainable ASEAN
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Driven by increased investor interest and a growing project pipeline, utility-scale floating solar installations are set to take off globally over the next few years, a report from Fitch Solutions says. The consultancy estimates that nearly 10GW of new floating solar capacity will be installed in the next five years, with Asian markets such as China, South Korea, India, Thailand and Vietnam expected to outperform. While floating PV has been available for more than a decade, the report notes that a lack of knowledge and standards, in areas such as environmental impacts and regulations, have made projects relatively high risk. The technology is said to have remained under utilised, with less than 3GW installed globally by year-end 2019 – less than 1% of installed solar capacity around the world.
The Western Australian government has granted state environmental approvals to the massive first stage of the Asian Renewable Energy Hub, which proposes to build up to 15,000MW of new wind and solar power in the state’s Pilbara region and has expanded its long-term plans to an extraordinary 26,000MW. It is a major step toward the project becoming a reality, with the McGowan government giving the project environmental clearance for the first 15,000MW stage of the project, to be built across 6,500 square kilometres in the Pilbara region, as the developers seek to capitalise on an emerging market for Australian renewable energy exports, including green hydrogen. The Asian Renewable Energy Hub is being developed through a consortium that includes wind turbine manufacturer Vestas, project developer CWP Energy Asia, green hydrogen developer InterContinental Energy and investors Pathway Investments.
For the past two decades, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has achieved remarkable progress in the energy sector in terms of the acceleration of rural electrification access, rapid provision of large-scale national grid systems, successful mobilisation of indigenous resources, gradual adoption of new technologies and sharing of renewables into the energy mix. This was said by Han Phoumin, Senior Energy Economist at the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA). He said the region is also beginning to see cross-country electricity entry trade bilaterally and power exchanges that will promote the future market of multilateral trade. However, he added, the future energy landscape of ASEAN will rely on today’s actions, policies and investment to change the current dominant fossil fuel-based system towards a cleaner energy system.
Vietnam has been making great strides in projecting itself as an effective ASEAN leader, particularly with its proactive governance in handling the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change policy, and for its political stability, the ASEAN Post reported. In its article published last weekend, the ASEAN Post highlighted the leading role of Vietnam as the current Chair of ASEAN, saying the country has been actively involved with the association since 1995 when it joined the bloc with the aim of bringing all Southeast Asian countries together to promote regional peace, freedom, and prosperity. It highlighted that Vietnam is the only Southeast Asian country that has achieved climate action, according to the Sustainable Development Report 2020. Vietnam is powering ahead of the rest of Southeast Asia as it pushes for greater reliance on renewable energy.