Renewables to dominate new U.S. capacity in 2021, with solar leading the way
Renewable energy resources will account for the majority of new U.S. electricity generating capacity in 2021, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). In a “Today in Energy” report, the agency said it expects nearly 40 GW of new utility-scale capacity to start commercial operation this year. Of that, solar power will make up the largest share, 39%, followed by wind power at 31%. Natural gas additions will account for 11%, and a new nuclear reactor at Georgia’s Vogtle site is expected to make up about 3%. Notably, battery energy storage is projected to contribute 11% of expected new capacity. The EIA said project developers and plant owners expect utility-scale solar to set a new record by adding 15.4 GW of capacity to the U.S. grid in 2021.
What’s driving Vietnam’s renewable energy boom?
In 2014, the installed capacity of non-hydroelectric renewable energy in Vietnam (such as solar, wind and biomass gasification) stood at 109 megawatts (MW), about one third of one percent of the country’s total installed capacity of 34,079 MW. At the time, Vietnam’s electricity mix was dominated by hydropower (46 percent), coal (29 percent) and natural gas (22 percent). By the end of 2019, wind and solar accounted for 5,700 MW of installed capacity, about 10 percent of the total supply…What is driving this renewable energy boom? The primary mover is Vietnam’s explosive rate of growth. According to the Asian Development Bank, Vietnam’s economy has grown at 6 percent or more every year since 2014, reaching 7 percent in 2018 and 2019. This rapid growth is driving up energy consumption at an extraordinary rate.
Closing the gender gap in ASEAN’s energy sector
Southeast Asia has shown an improvement in the number of women in leadership roles. The Philippines, Vietnam and Singapore are leading in having the most women holding senior management positions, based on a report by Grant Thornton, an assurance, tax and advisory firm, titled, ‘Women in Business’. However, women representation decreases as they go up the management ladder. A survey by the Credit Suisse Research Institute (CSRI) titled, ‘The CS Gender 3000 in 2019: The changing face of companies’, reveals that Singapore leads in Southeast Asia with the highest female CEO representation (15 percent), followed by Thailand (nine percent), Indonesia (nine percent) and the Philippines (eight percent). The CSRI report also found that the global average for women on boards in the energy sector is 20.6 percent.
Rising demand in energy across SEA leads to an energy crunch
With rapidly growing populations and GDP, Southeast Asia has been in an "energy crunch" for 20 years, according to Clifford Chance partner in Singapore Melissa Ng. However, the countries in the region are taking steps in addressing the shortages, such as Indonesia coming up with programmes to resolve its insufficient electricity generation capacity and a lack of refining capacity which both lead to shortages of petrol and other liquid fuel shortages. The Philippines, on the other hand, has several liquefied natural gas (LNG) import projects rushed to the market to prevent the looming gas supply shortage caused by the considerable decline of the Malampaya gas field’s production. “Without sufficient energy, be it electricity, petrol or gas, the economy of the affected country suffers,” noted Ng. “But in Asia, whilst many of the people are accustomed to shortages—brownouts and long queues for petrol being common symptoms—the shortages tend to lead to protests and in turn further government action.”
Vietnam rooftop solar records major boom as more than 9GW installed in 2020
Rooftop solar installations skyrocketed in Vietnam last year prior to a hard installation deadline for feed-in tariffs, with more than 9GWp of rooftop solar installed in the country. Throughout 2020 rooftop solar installations in Vietnam grew by a major 2,435%, rising from a 2019 base of 378MWp to 9.583GWp, spread across almost 102,000 systems. The growth figures are confirmed by state-owned Vietnam Electricity (EVN), though the numbers have been further revised upward in the past day. Vietnam rooftop solar installations grew steadily in H1 2020 despite the pandemic and a nationwide lockdown period imposed in the country. Rooftop solar growth continued to accelerate throughout Q3 2020, before skyrocketing in December 2020. Vietnam’s tremendous rooftop solar market was driven by a second iteration, FIT2 (feed-in tariff) policy paying USD $0.0838 per kWh over a period of 20 years for systems with a Commercial Operation Date of 31 December 2020 at the latest.
Thailand poised to be regional leader in electric vehicle revolution, and all it needs is a spark
Entrepreneurs banking on electric vehicles as one of the solutions to tackle climate change are positioning themselves early, as Thailand looks to ramp up production. The automotive sector is one of Thailand’s most important. The country is the eleventh biggest car manufacturer in the world and the fourth in Asia, only behind the powerhouse nations of China, Japan and South Korea. Thailand’s legacy assets and skills, all set up to produce conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, face being wiped out by the electric wave. Already the industry has taken a major hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. But within five years, the Thai government wants the country to become a hub for something new. A national roadmap will aim to promote EV manufacturing to the extent that it makes up 30 per cent of total annual car production, or about 750,000 units, by the end of the decade.
Sustainability heralds $1 trillion opportunity for Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia has fallen behind on the global sustainability agenda, although advancements in this space could be a $1 trillion economic opportunity for the region by 2030. This is according to a new Bain & Company report…In Southeast Asia, the wheel is turning slowly, if not backwards. Bain & Company includes Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos all within this regional characterisation, pointing out that none of these markets ranks above 40 in the global Sustainable Development Goals rankings. The region performs badly across all sustainable metrics. Carbon emissions are expected to jump 60% by 2040. More than half of the mismanaged plastic waste across the world will come from Southeast Asia in 2025, while the wastewater treatment rate in the region is the lowest in the world – nearly 90% of the region’s wastewater is left untreated.
Buying clean energy in Asia set to get easier as firms demand 100% renewable power
Corporate demand for zero carbon electricity is driving governments to make it easier for companies to sign power purchase agreements. Renewable energy is making serious inroads into the world’s energy markets, but that growth is very uneven, with the Asia-Pacific region among the most challenging for businesses that are looking to go renewable. New research from RE100, the global renewable energy initiative, shows that although renewables are now the cheapest sources of energy in most markets, they can face challenges in certain markets as a result of limited availability, regulatory complexity and the high costs that these cause. A growing number of companies, including some of the world’s largest corporations, are looking to switch to 100% renewable power to cut their emissions but are finding that they cannot do so in every market.