The first gathering, since the adoption of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity, of ASEAN Ministers responsible for energy successfully concluded in Jerudong . It included a series of events on policy discussion, regulatory options, and business opportunities, all of which are crucial to the realisation of the ASEAN Connectivity and of an ASEAN Community by 2015. ASEAN is actively discussing a common target for the region to work towards having a higher percentage of renewable energy sources.
Hon. Pehin Dato (Dr) Mohammad Yasmin Umar, Minister of Energy of Brunei Darussalam who is Chairman of the 29th ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting (29th AMEM), said this is a golden opportunity for Ministers and Senior Officials from all ASEAN Member States, Dialogue Partners, international organisations, and the energy business community to join hands in accelerating the ASEAN energy connectivity.
Dr Surin Pitsuwan, Secretary-General of ASEAN, highlighted the importance of synergising the efforts of the energy sector, and harnessing the opportunities made available by external parties and business community in the implementation of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity and other cross-sectoral initiatives, including the ASEAN Plus Three Comprehensive Strategy on Food Security and Bio-energy Development (APTCS-FSBD) and its Strategic Plan of Action on Food and Energy Security (SPA-FES).
“There is a need to boost infrastructural connectivity to open new market opportunities and boost overall energy security, as well as to expedite regional connectivity projects in the power, oil and gas sectors; to facilitate energy trade, investment and services; and to enhance cooperation with partners countries to promote robust East Asian energy connectivity,”
said Hon. Pehin Dato (Dr) Mohammad Yasmin Umar.
One of the projections of the ASEAN Council on Petroleum (ASCOPE) is that ASEAN is expected to emerge as a net importing region in the next five years. As such, it is necessary to have a stronger cooperation amongst ASEAN Member States and its partnership with external parties to facilitate more oil and gas trading and marketing within the region.
The two flagship energy connectivity projects of ASEAN – namely the ASEAN Power Grid (APG) and the Trans-ASEAN Gas Pipeline (TAGP) – are on a good track to help the region ensure a greater energy security of gas supply for the region. There are more opportunities, however, on the energy infrastructure projects, including infrastructure for Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) trading, and other cooperation modalities, such as extension of the TAGP Memorandum of Understanding, and development of a Gas Transit Principle Agreement in ASEAN.
ASEAN is actively discussing a common target for the region to work towards having a higher percentage of renewable energy sources and new energy technologies, such as cleaner coal technology, in the regional energy mix, including the projected targets until 2030. All these efforts are to ensure ASEAN’s continued resilience and growth in a sustainable manner to cope with the increasing energy challenges.
Many countries in Asia have a natural solar energy advantage given they are both sunny and have large areas of land unsuitable for other uses. However, large-scale solar power generation has been hampered by a lack of suitable project financing mechanisms, institutional and policy constraints, and knowledge gaps
Around 900 million people in developing Asia have no access to electricity, and many others in remote areas pay very high prices for power that is typically generated by fossil fuels.