Asia Pacific: Key trends vital for a sustainable energy future

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Seven key areas have been identified as vital for a sustainable energy future in the Asia Pacific.

The areas and key trends have been identified by regional and global business leaders, policymakers, and government representatives who attended Siemens Energy’s Asia Pacific Energy Week.

Some 2,500 participants attended the 2-day virtual event held from March 9 to 10.

The seven key areas vital to accelerate the region’s energy transition include:

  1. Access to reliable, affordable, and sustainable energy supply is a necessity for economic growth.

Commenting on this, H.E Alfonso G. Cusi, energy secretary at the Department of Energy, said affordability of tariffs is the biggest challenge his country is facing.

Concerns around energy security since the country’s energy infrastructure is in the hands of the private sector is their second biggest challenge.

Cusi said the Philippines is in the process of ensuring a balance between accessibility, affordability, and sustainability through policy development.

The country has, however, been successful in accelerating its electrification programmes evidenced by 95% of the country’s society being energised.

In terms of energy sustainability, the Philippines has issued a moratorium for green power plants, signed various MoUs to develop hydrogen solutions and is looking at the electrolysis technology for power generation.

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2. Ramp up the contribution of renewable energy for long-term sustainability

The development and adoption of policies supporting further expansion of the renewable energy market is vital as the prices of renewables continue to decline.

At the same time, industry players can ramp up the development and use of smart grid technologies, a development that would in turn help intensify the integration of renewables with grid networks.

The government of Indonesia, under its National Grand Energy Strategy, has plans to expand its renewables portfolio so that capacity accounts for 23% of the country’s total energy mix by 2025.

Indonesia has set a goal to add 38GW of new renewables capacity by 2035.

3. Utilise technology for efficient and cleaner use of energy

In the next 10 years, Indonesia has plans to leverage technology to build up capacity and infrastructure including 18 priority transmissions, 7 smart grid projects and renewable energy.

4. Embrace emerging and cleaner energy resources like green hydrogen

Governments within the Asia Pacific have also been urged to come up with regulations promoting the production and use of hydrogen.

Commenting on this, Hon Dan van Holst Pellekaan MP, South Australian Minister for Energy and Mining, said: “We see green hydrogen as a key means to achieving this ambition (of wanting to export our renewable energy to the world) and firmly believe that South Australia can become a hydrogen supplier of choice to the Asia-Pacific region. We have been a leader within Australia with our vision to become a world-class hydrogen supplier ” as the first Australian jurisdiction to showcase our hydrogen vision through the 2017 Hydrogen Roadmap, and which was reinforced by the release of our Hydrogen Action Plan in 2019.”

5. Digitalisation and AI-driven intelligence will form the core of a future-proof and efficient transmission system

Ronnie L. Aperocho, senior vice president, networks Meralco Philippines, said: “Digitalisation is the definition of the future. Utilities will stand to gain exponential benefits from digital solutions. On our end, digitalisation helped us to maximise our asset management and performance especially during the pandemic, to support decision-making and analytics in addressing the changing loads of our distribution transformers.

“There are ample technical solutions that we can ride on but these require capital investment that requires regulatory approvals, and close collaboration with stakeholders on what projects to pursue and prioritise.”

6. Access to capital at reasonable costs will accelerate the energy transition journey

Christian Bruch, president and CEO, Siemens Energy AG, said: “To successfully drive the transformation of energy systems worldwide, sufficient financial resources are needed. Take Europe, where we need an estimated €30 trillion ($36 trillion) by 2050 to decarbonise all our systems. To accomplish this mammoth task, private capital is needed, as well as the appropriate political framework conditions. Again, it’s all about collaboration.”

7. Collaboration among stakeholders is imperative for transformation of the energy landscape

Francesco La Camera, director-general, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), said: “To get to a sustainable energy future we have to join forces. Public sector and private sector must work in tandem for two main reasons. First, private sector capital will accelerate investment and there is a need for more public-private partnerships. Second, companies will translate emerging business strategies into viable business models, developing bankable projects and driving technological innovations.”

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