The coming years could be a watershed moment for renewable energy in the Asean region. Although South-East Asia is considered a laggard in terms of RE deployment, the region is, arguably, where the most significant potential for sustainably-sourced energy lie. The conditions for the development of RE here, particularly solar energy, could not be better.
India currently has renewable energy projects of 46,500 MW capacity in the pipeline for capacity addition. This includes projects which are currently under construction and those likely to be offered for bidding soon. India has made a commitment to the world that by 2030, 40 per cent of its electric power generation capacity would come from non-fossil fuels.
According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade in Vietnam, as of August this year, 121 solar power projects with a combined designed capacity of 6,100 MW had been added to the national and provincial power development plans. Of these, EVN agreed to purchase the output from 25 projects.
The Asian Development Bank will invest THB5 billion (US$155 million) in Thai firm B.Grimm Power's maiden 5-year and 7-year green bonds – the first certified climate bonds to be issued in Thailand – in order to finance renewable energy projects in the Southeast Asian country.
The investment rush in solar energy could end up testing Vietnam’s weak power infrastructure, experts say. They say that both transmission capacity and the ability of grids to absorb the energy produced by new projects are suspect, as of now. The 9.35 U.S. cents per kWh FIT for solar power in Vietnam has sparked an investment rush.
While coal will continue to dominate the fuel mix across most of the Asia Pacific region, a steady shift toward renewables, particularly in developed economies, is set to create competitive pressures for some coal-based power projects. The share of renewables is rising, and will be boosted further by falling technology costs and greater availability of cheaper finance for renewables issuers.
The US power grid is, by some estimates, the largest machine in the world, a continent-spanning wonder of the modern age. And despite its occasional well-publicized failures, it is remarkably reliable, delivering energy to almost every American, almost every second of every day. Still, the grid is stressed out and the need for local resilience in the face of climate chaos is growing all the time.
Although all 10 members of ASEAN, the region’s intergovernmental association, have submitted national pledges on climate action and agreed on grandiose action plans, they currently lie at the bottom of the global league table for renewable energy deployment – and current trends suggest that it will take considerable efforts to reroute this course.