ASEAN decarbonization: common pathways and policy implications

Renewable energies’ contribution to the total primary energy consumption (TPEC) of ASEAN has been decreasing in the last two decades, despite the increasing installation capacity. This calls for more ambitious and effective solutions.
Published in Sustainability
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A Review of the Status of Fossil and Renewable Energies in Southeast Asia and Its Implications on the Decarbonization of ASEAN

The ten nations of Southeast Asia, collectively known as ASEAN, emitted 1.65 Gtpa CO2 in 2020, and are among the most vulnerable nations to climate change, which is partially caused by anthropogenic CO2 emission. This paper analyzes the history of ASEAN energy consumption and CO2 emission from both fossil and renewable energies in the last two decades. The results show that ASEAN’s renewable energies resources range from low to moderate, are unevenly distributed geographically, and contributed to only 20% of total primary energy consumption (TPEC) in 2015. The dominant forms of renewable energies are hydropower, solar photovoltaic, and bioenergy. However, both hydropower and bioenergy have substantial sustainability issues. Fossil energies depend heavily on coal and oil and contribute to 80% of TPEC. More importantly, renewable energies’ contribution to TPEC has been decreasing in the last two decades, despite the increasing installation capacity. This suggests that the current rate of the addition of renewable energy capacity is inadequate to allow ASEAN to reach net-zero by 2050. Therefore, fossil energies will continue to be an important part of ASEAN’s energy mix. More tools, such as carbon capture and storage (CCS) and hydrogen, will be needed for decarbonization. CCS will be needed to decarbonize ASEAN’s fossil power and industrial plants, while blue hydrogen will be needed to decarbonize hard-to-decarbonize industrial plants. Based on recent research into regional CO2 source-sink mapping, this paper proposes six large-scale CCS projects in four countries, which can mitigate up to 300 Mtpa CO2. Furthermore, this paper identifies common pathways for ASEAN decarbonization and their policy implications.

The ten nations of Southeast Asia, collectively known as ASEAN, emitted 1.65 Gtpa CO2 in 2020, and are among the most vulnerable nations to climate change, which is partially caused by anthropogenic CO2 emissions. Renewable energies’ contribution to the total primary energy consumption (TPEC) has been decreasing in the last two decades, despite the increasing installation capacity. This suggests that the current rate of the addition of renewable energy capacity is inadequate to allow ASEAN to reach net-zero by 2050. Therefore, more tools, such as carbon capture and storage (CCS) and hydrogen, will be needed for the decarbonization of ASEAN. Based on regional CO2 source-sink mapping, six large-scale CCS projects in four countries can mitigate up to 300 Mtpa CO2.  This study has summarized the recent research on quantitative CO2 source-sinking mapping, revealing that there is enough CO2 storage potential in ASEAN’s oil and gas fields, and saline aquifers to store over two centuries of CO2 emission. Consequently, future efforts should focus on the large-scale implementation of CCS projects through the use of CCS corridors.

For more details, please check this article

Lau, H.C.; Zhang, K.; Bokka, H.K.; Ramakrishna, S. A Review of the Status of Fossil and Renewable Energies in Southeast Asia and Its Implications on the Decarbonization of ASEAN. Energies 2022, 15, 2152. https://doi.org/ 10.3390/en15062152

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