Renewable Energy in Southeast Asia: Priorities and Commitment Needed

The Southeast Asian region is now viewed as an oasis of socioeconomic development and the region’s vibrant economic growth has led to a corresponding increase in energy consumption. Asean energy ministers have collectively recognised the important role of the energy sector in establishing the Asean Economic Community and shaping the post-2015 agenda.

In order to reduce the region’s over-reliance on imported fossil fuels and build a more sustainable and environmentally friendly power supply, Asean member states are exploring the use of alternative energy sources such as nuclear and renewable energy.

Nuclear power, renewables and their challenges

Despite the 2011 Fukushima disaster nuclear remains a viable alternative energy source due to its mature technology and its capability to produce stable power supply. On the other hand renewable energy technologies are still being perfected, and their intermittent power-generating characteristics make them appear less reliable. However, while some countries in Southeast Asia have considered the nuclear option for decades, the relatively recent renewable energy sources have already made inroads in the region.

Community members from Hau Sai together with Greenpeace supporters and volunteers fly hundreds of kites above the Ministry of Energy's Hau Sai Wind Energyu Research Centre, to symbolise the provinces potential to lead the way in renewable energy supply.

In 2011, renewable energy power plants, particularly hydropower and geothermal, made up about 15 per cent of total power generated in Asean. They were the third largest after gas-fired and coal-powered power plants. Nuclear power, on the other hand, is projected to enter the region’s energy mix only after

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