ASEAN has become a community of opportunities. Built by 10 member states that represent a market of more than 600 million consumers and a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of nearly USD3 trillion with a total trade of more than USD2.5 trillion, ASEAN’s prosperity and stability continues to grow. Within this context, the ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE) has an important role to play as a regional centre of excellence that builds a coherent, coordinated, focused and robust energy policy agenda and strategy for ASEAN. To this end, the ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation (APAEC) serves as a blueprint for ASEAN to strengthen and deepen the cooperation and integration amongst the ASEAN Member States (AMS), Dialogue Partners and International Organizations (DPs & IOs), under the framework of the ASEAN Economic Community. The APAEC is a series of guiding policy documents to implement energy cooperation to advance regional integration and connectivity goals in ASEAN. Against this backdrop, the 32nd ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting (AMEM) in September 2014 (Vientiane, Lao PDR), endorsed the theme of the new APAEC 2016-2025, which is “Enhancing Energy Connectivity and Market Integration in ASEAN to Achieve Energy Security, Accessibility, Affordability and Sustainability for All”.
Some of the key initiatives that would be endorsed and approved at the 33rd AMEM in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (October 2015) would entail embarking on multilateral electricity trading to accelerate the realization of the ASEAN Power Grid (APG), enhancing gas connectivity by expanding the focus of the Trans-ASEAN Gas Pipeline (TAGP) to include Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) regasification terminals, and promoting clean coal technologies, including strategies with higher aspirational targets to improve energy efficiency and increase the uptake of renewable energy sources in the energy mix. Plans to broaden and deepen collaboration with DPs and IOs will be stepped up to benefit from their expertise and enhance capacity building in the region.
Much work still needs to be done to implement these initiatives. ACE in coordination with relevant bodies/organizations, shall continue to assist Senior Officials Meeting on Energy (SOME), the ASEAN specialized energy bodies, and sub-sector networks in carrying out the above responsibilities. In particular, ACE shall provide technical coordination, as well as facilitate and integrate the tasks of the implementing organizations (IOs & DPs). In today’s world as we progress along the way, we meet with organizations heading in the same direction and sometimes on parallel paths. As such, we can go forward together, supporting and inspiring each other. This sums the spirit in which ACE needs to grow. (Ir. Dr. Sanjayan Velautham, ACE’s Executive Director).