Will utilising it prove to be boon or bane? When the word blockchain is mentioned, thoughts of Bitcoin cryptocurrency naturally arise, but not for energy experts in Southeast Asia who have started to view the technology as an answer to the region’s escalating energy challenges. The ten-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN region, faces an “energy conundrum,” said Beni Suryadi, manager, policy research & analytics at ACE, with hundreds of millions in the block living without grid-quality electricity.
Energy demand in ASEAN is continuously rising given fast-growing populations and rapidly expanding industrial development. Suryadi expects the bloc’s energy demand to rise almost 4% for the next two decades, higher than the 1% global average. The ASEAN energy mix is also predominantly made up of fossil fuels, complicating the path towards the goals governments have set to pursue cleaner energy options and meeting global climate agreements. Given ASEAN’s unique energy profile, energy digitalisation has emerged in the radar of experts as a source for novel solutions.