2018 should be the year that Southeast Asian solar hits its stride. That was the clear headline from the 35th ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Ministers on Energy Meeting: “ASEAN calls for energy investment.” At the opening of the ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting (AMEM) towards the end of last year, Philippine Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi called on energy investors and policy officials to find new ways to meet the region’s monstrous energy needs. “It is now imperative on us to draw in more investments and expertise to ensure that we are prepared for this new future.”
How great is the need? According to the Institute for Energy Economics and the International Energy Association, ASEAN nations are projected to see their energy needs grow 80 percent to 2040 — the third biggest jump in the world, after China and India — as the region’s economy more than triples in size, and its population rises by almost a quarter to 760 million. ASEAN nations include Indonesia — the 4th most populous country in the world — as well as the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand.