SINGAPORE: The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has endorsed an energy investment roadmap designed to attract investment and build sustainable financing models to meet increasing energy needs.
This comes as ASEAN's energy demand is expected to rise by nearly two-thirds from 2018 to 2040 as its population grows in tandem with rapid industrialisation. It is estimated that at least US$2.7 trillion of cumulative investment would be needed to meet this energy demand.
In a joint statement at the ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting on Monday (Oct 29), the ASEAN ministers said they "underscored the importance of sustainable investments and financing to facilitate the transformation of ASEAN's energy landscape".
Under the roadmap, developed by Singapore and the International Energy Agency (IEA), ASEAN nations should over the next three years engage the private sector to share knowledge with policymakers about emerging business models and reducing risks in energy projects.
"Our contribution to this roadmap is a lot about sharing good references," Singapore's Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said at a press conference on Monday.
Citing the country's experience in attracting long-term investments, he added: "These are areas where Singapore can share our expertise on how we use mechanisms to encourage long-term investment to build up sustained capacities."
Countries should also improve their use of financial tools to assess risk and investment options, and develop conducive regulatory environments for the distribution of funds across energy technologies.
Mr Chan also pointed to how Singapore could contribute in the area of reducing energy consumption through urban design and the use of materials like glass panels.
For example, he referred to the use of centralised cooling as opposed to individual cooling mechanisms in the Marina Bay area, which he said introduced economies of scale.
"If we can use better design for our urban precincts, then it will substantially reduce the amount of energy required for cooling purposes," he said, noting that almost a third of ASEAN's future use of energy could be in the area of cooling.
As part of the roadmap, Singapore and IEA will organise a regional training programme on risk management for energy infrastructure in 2019.
RENEWABLE ENERGY DEAL
Besides the roadmap, ASEAN will also sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) on Tuesday to deploy more renewable energy in the region and meet related targets within the next decade.
The MOU will allow IRENA to support the development and financing of renewable energy projects in the region and help ASEAN meet its aspirational target of increasing renewable energy to 23 per cent of its total energy mix by 2025 (based on 2005 levels).
Mr Chan said the MOU will allow ASEAN nations to find the best solution when it comes to adopting renewable energy.
"Different ASEAN countries will have different requirements based on geography and domestic needs," he said. "So, this MOU will enable all ASEAN countries to tap on the database of IRENA for the best ideas that are most suitable for them."
IRENA will also provide technical support for renewable energy planning, policy and technology, and hold regular high-level dialogues to exchange views on key renewable energy issues.
"Southeast Asia has tremendous renewable energy potential," IRENA director-general Adnan Amin said in a statement welcoming the MOU.
"If fully harnessed, cost-competitive renewable energy can not only help meet rising electricity demand, but also bolster energy security and deliver widespread socio-economic benefits to millions of people across the region."
Beyond the MOU, the ASEAN ministers also endorsed recommendations for the development of green building codes to drive the region's green building industry, and agreed to improve cooperation and trade in liquefied natural gas.
Mr Chan said ASEAN is well positioned to achieve its collective energy goals, stating that the initiatives show its commitment to boost regional cooperation in the energy sector.
"It is important for us to continue working closely together ... to sustain growth, generate greater business opportunities and improve lives in the region," he added.