Residents in a Bangkok neighbourhood are trying out a renewable energy trading platform that allows them to buy and sell electricity between themselves, signalling the growing popularity of such systems as solar panels get cheaper. The pilot project in the centre of Thailand’s capital is among the world’s largest peer-to-peer renewable energy trading platforms using blockchain.
Two hotbeds for large hydropower development depict its potential and limitations. Analysts reckon Nepal and Southeast Asia countries stand to benefit from large hydropower projects from an energy supply standpoint, but large hydro projects have been complicated by changes in political regimes, inter-regional power plays, and social opposition due to their potential impact on the environment and local communities.
A dam under construction in Laos collapsed the day before after heavy monsoon rains, sending a deluge of water down the already swollen, swirling Sekong. The disaster has brought into focus the ambitious agenda of Laos to turn itself into “the battery of Southeast Asia” by building dozens of hydroelectric dams on the Mekong River and its tributaries and selling power to neighboring countries.
Right now in America, there are about 2 million homes with solar panels. We’re now on track to start adding a million new solar-powered systems each year. It’s taken a while to get here, but solar is increasingly becoming a popular option to power the Home of the Future.
Energy has been in the global spotlight for some time, including in the fast-growing economies of Southeast Asia. While governments and media showcase the steps the region has taken toward greening its energy systems, the recent collapse of a dam in southern Laos brings to light some of the other facets of the energy transitions taking place in this part of the world.
Thailand’s Ministry of Energy has announced plans to expand the role of renewables and coal in the domestic power mix, in addition to increasing opportunities for small-scale electricity producers. The revised PDP will place greater emphasis on renewable energy, targeting an increase in clean energy from 10 to 30 per cent in the next 15 years.
In Southeast Asia, many large-scale power plants are being planned or constructed, including hydro and coal power plants. While a growing electricity demand is forecast for the entire region, many energy experts are challenging this assumption.
Financing is still a significant obstacle to the development of the renewable energy sector in Asia, and renewable energy projects are capital intensive and require big loans. Given the capital market is not well developed in many Asian countries, and that the Asian financial system is dominated by banks, such lenders are the main source of funding for projects.