The Far East powers up

Asia, primarily driven by China, is one of the world’s most exciting and rapidly developing electricity markets, with the power industry of almost every country in the region undergoing dramatic changes in terms of regulation, structure, ownership and/or generation mix.

In recognition of this emerging and dynamic sector, coupled with the fact that this is the Special Issue for the upcoming POWER-GEN Asia, we have a distinct oriental flavour this month.

China, in almost every endeavour, could never be accused of being timid, and this is certainly true when you look at its nuclear power development programme. It is widely known that the Asian giant has plans to add an exceedingly generous 60 GW of new nuclear capacity by 2020 ” currently it has an installed base of around 10 GW.

With any other country, sceptics would call this target unrealistic. But they are quieter on this issue. Penny Hitchin, a regular contributor of PEi, had the opportunity to talk first-hand to be people at the heart of the nuclear development plan and she clearly came away with the feeling that, short of a catastrophic accident at a nuclear plant, China will become the biggest generator of nuclear power in the world. You can read Penny’s article on pages 24″29.

While China’s electric power sector appears to riding the crest of the wave, other countries in the region continue to struggle to ensure their electricity supply meets an ever-growing demand as their economies skyrocket. One such country is Indonesia, one of the most energy-hungry countries in Southeast Asia. Indecision over whether to invest in new generation capacity over the last 10″15 years is blamed for the situation where demand now outstrips supply. This has forced the government to implement a policy of scheduled blackouts over the last two years. Fortunately, Jakarta finally appears to be waking up to the need to invest in its electricity infrastructure. We look at how the country is responding to the challenges of modernizing its electricity sector on pages 18″22.

An essential ingredient of any effort to modernize, upgrade or expand electricity infrastructure is capital and, as places such as the USA and Europe have lost appeal, investors are turning their attention to the Far East. The ASEAN (The Association of Southeast Asian Nations) energy sector, for example, is actively trying to create a coherent business environment to encourage foreign investment, although problems still persist. Chris Webb explores what opportunities exist for direct foreign investment in the ASEAN region on pages 34″37.

In this month’s opinion piece, Al Ferrer of Burns & Roe, a leading EPCO company, makes the case that Southeast Asian nations should develop nuclear power capabilities for their growing baseload requirements and that this will be key to realizing their renewable energy potential.

Finally, as mentioned this is the Special Issue for POWER-GEN Asia, which takes place 2″4 November in Singapore. We feature a profile on the Singapore electricity market, which is implementing a number of interesting initiatives to ensure the city”state’s energy security, on page 50. Associate Editor Nigel Blackaby also tells us what not to miss at POWER-GEN Asia and its sister event Renewable Energy World Asia on page 54.

I hope to see you in Singapore next month.

Kind regards,
Heather Johnstone
Chief Editor

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