In March, USAID Clean Power Asia RE planning staff gave a presentation at an event in Bangkok sponsored by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) entitled SDG7 Implementation: The National Expert SDG Tool for Energy Planning (NEXSTEP) and the Asia Pacific Energy/Resource Platform. UNESCAP developed a planning tool to support the development of the Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG 7) roadmap. The objective of the workshop was to share best practices in energy modeling for the achievement of SDG 7, focused on ensuring “affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all”, and to inform participants of an opportunity to operationalize the NEXSTEP tool in order to develop comprehensive energy roadmaps to guide decision-making and policy action. USAID Clean Power Asia COP Dana Kenney and RE Planning Specialist Pitoon Junthip delivered a presentation, Capacity Building and Tools for Clean Power, which shared information on our capacity building efforts and modeling tools used in Lao PDR and regionally. Ms. Kenney and Mr. Junthip also discussed opportunities for collaboration with UNESCAP and the International Atomic Energy Agency on areas that overlap with our activities supporting the third update of the ASEAN Interconnection Masterplan Study (AIMS) III and our IRRP capacity building activities regionally and in Lao PDR, respectively.
USAID Clean Power Asia RE planning staff are currently preparing for two meetings with the government of Lao PDR in early April. The first is to review the draft resilience action plan which the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and our vulnerability and resilience experts developed based on inputs from power sector stakeholder workshops. In addition, RE planning staff will also discuss next steps for a larger multi-stakeholder event to present the final vulnerability assessment and resilience action plan, tentatively scheduled for May 2019. The second meeting early next month is to develop a process and implementation plan for determining commercial interest in candidate RE zones, the next step in assessing which RE zones to incorporate into IRRP supply planning.
How we improve power sector planning
USAID Clean Power Asia supports integrating climate targets into energy planning to help ensure that both policy and the regulatory environment support low emission growth. In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and deferring or even eliminating the need to build new conventional capacity for energy, scaling up renewable energy (such as solar, wind, small hydro and biomass residues) can deliver significant development benefits. These include providing reliable energy access, improving air quality, reducing health costs, boosting economic growth, mitigating transnational conflict, promoting food security and biodiversity, as well as reducing direct energy costs.
The program supports the establishment and updating of national renewable energy targets and the integration of these targets into power development plans and integrated resource plans for the power sector. USAID Clean Power Asia works to rationalize the planning and development of renewable energy by linking it to the transmission planning process and the program is helping to establish a collaborative stakeholder process for renewable energy zone development in the region.