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Asia’s Energy Transition


Energy transition refers to shifting from a fossil-based energy production and consumption system to renewable energy sources. Energy use accounts for almost 75% of greenhouse gas emissions. Meanwhile, global energy demand is projected to increase by more than double within 2050, which is why it is essential that the sources of these energies be sustainable and meet global climate goals.


THE CHALLENGE

Currently, Asia is the region that relies significantly on coal as its source of power generation. Due to high global energy prices, this dependence is only growing. Furthermore, continued economic growth within Asia means it will be the fastest-growing region regarding electricity consumption over a ten-year forecast from the Economist. According to the International Energy Agency, although coal will have lost gas and renewable energy shares by 2023, it will remain a significant component in Asia’s electricity source mix.


THE DILEMMA

However, Asia is and will continue to be the world’s biggest market for renewable energy investments. Most shares go to China, India, Japan, and South Korea. It is expected that renewables will increase their share in power generation in Asia over the next ten years, with wind energy receiving the most investment. Nonetheless, solar energy will currently dominate until 2023, when wind power’s capacity will accelerate. In China, the share of energy from non-hydro renewables alone will rise from the current 15% to about 26% in 2031, while in India, it will increase from 11% to 21%. Many governments in the region are now looking into nuclear energy to become less reliant on imported energy. However, this will do little to help improve their short-term energy crunch.


Despite GREAT progress and several projections, fossil fuel use remains prevalent, particularly in Asia where fossil-fuel power generation continues to grow. Transitioning to renewable energy sources hence becomes the key aspect of SDG 7 calling for “affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy,” which is essentially regarded as one of the subject matters highlighted in the ongoing United Nations High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). To make a future powered by sustainable and renewable energy, governments and organizations need to prioritize their energy source and put out perpetual collaborations.

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