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ASEAN’s Energy Transition

Southeast Asia was initially regarded as a ‘slow starter’ regarding energy transition. However, they have made GREAT progress on their path to decarbonization. Countries such as Singapore, the Philippines, and Vietnam have all begun implementing sustainable strategies and projects to start their transition. However, Southeast Asia remains a region that heavily relies on fossil fuels as a source of energy. To rebalance their priorities and focus on setting and achieving sustainable goals, countries in Southeast Asia must concentrate their efforts.


South East Asia (SEA) will play a crucial role in the energy transition; currently, the region still largely relies on fossil fuels. SEA developing its renewable energy industries would benefit the area long-term, and the overall global impact would be significant. According to the Center for Strategies and International Relations (CSIS), around 75% of Southeast Asia’s electricity supply comes from fossil fuel facilities. Unsurprisingly, SEA is one of the most climate-vulnerable regions on the planet, within the top 10 countries affected by significant climate risks, including Myanmar, the Philippines, and Thailand. As one of the most important contributors towards fossil fuel consumption, if SEA were to stay on this path towards renewable energy, it would significantly reduce the negative impacts caused by fossil fuels.


However, many countries have pledged to achieve net zero despite this dependency. The Philippines’ inaugural green energy auction awarded 76% of its capacity towards solar energy. Meanwhile, Vietnam plans to center its latest Power Development Plan on the gas wind. The Lao PDR-Thailand-Malaysia-Singapore Power Integration project was created to help study cross-border power trades between Lao and Singapore. Doing so creates new opportunities for electricity and power trading between nations while promoting sustainable and renewable energy usage. Many Southeast Asian governments have set goals to reduce carbon emissions, and eight ASEAN members have plans to reach net zero emissions by 2050. However, S&P Global estimates that Southeast Asia’s emissions will peak in 2029, missing their goal of net zero for 2050. . Although many countries in Southeast Asia have made commitments and set goals toward clean energy, the transition is still going slowly. To achieve their dream of net zero emissions by 2050, governments may need to set stricter goals and invest more in development. Southeast Asia could play a vital role in the global effort to transition away from fossil fuels as they hopefully continue their efforts.

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