19 January 2021
Yesterday our Executive Director, Dr Nuki Agya Utama was invited by International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) at the Ministerial Plenary Session during the 11th meeting of the IRENA Assembly on National Energy Planning and Implementation for Fostering Energy Transition. Dr Nuki enriched the discussions by underlining the role of the energy transition for an inclusive economic integration in the Asian country. He informed about the centre’s action plan that builds on sustainability, affordability & accessibility of energy.
This virtual ministerial session provided an opportunity to showcase the emerging experience in reinforcing energy planning and implementation at the national level and aligning that to global climate action and goals through NDCs. The session facilitated a dialogue among IRENA’s Membership and with international partners on climate action from the perspective of accelerated energy transition and faster deployment of renewable energy. The session also allowed Ministers to illustrate national planning priorities in terms of energy transition and climate action in their respective countries while shared national experiences and best practices in the context of the energy component of NDCs to inform the way forward.
The following questions guided in framing focused interventions during the round table
What do you see as the role of ASEAN in driving the energy transition and climate action to achieve the Paris Agreement Goals?
ASEAN needs to ensure a just energy transition that no one is left behind. Some of the member states are the fossil fuels exporters, and, thus, raising concerns that declining or relocating the carbon-intensive industries may cause job losses and economic hardship. Nonetheless, from IPCC special report and the UNEP emissions gap report 2020, we have learned that the current global effort on GHG emissions reduction is still insufficient in keeping the warming well below 2oC. We are at the risk of facing adverse impacts of climate change. The ASEAN Risk Monitor and Disaster Management Review have urged member states to act now against climate emergencies. Hence, ASEAN may consider climate-related financial risk and opportunities in the decision-making process, such as the associated socio-economic and environmental benefits and risks in energy infrastructure investment. Next, recognising the roles of job creation in economic recovery is equally important. According to the IRENA’s Annual Review 2020 on Renewable Energy and Jobs, Vietnam, Malaysia and Philippines were among the top 10 countries in the world that created solar PV employment in 2019. Our 6th ASEAN Energy Outlook (AEO6) also found that accelerating renewable energy deployment not only will create jobs but also will reduce the social cost over 700 billion USD by 2040. All these show that accelerating renewable energy deployment is a promising direction that could simultaneously address the energy trilemma. A just transition could be used as a common ground in realising the NDCs of ASEAN member states under the Paris Agreement. ASEAN could assist member states in implementing their NDCs through regional cooperation. For examples, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) may enhance the low-carbon supply chain across the ASEAN countries; regional capacity building and knowledge transfer through experts sharing will strengthen research, development and innovation on low-carbon technologies. Not only these will ensure sustainable development but also will enhance regional integration.
ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE) as the intergovernmental organisation representing the interest of 10 countries in the region, is working in the front line to support ASEAN countries on its energy transition. Guided by our regional blueprint, the ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation (APAEC) 2016-2025 Phase II: 2021-2026, we are working in various programme areas for accelerating Energy Transition and Strengthening Energy Resilience through Greater Innovation and Cooperation, including through our ASEAN Climate Change and Energy Project (ACCEPT)that support ASEAN in improving the coherence between the ASEAN energy and climate policies and contribute to more climate-friendly development of the energy sector.”
What do you see as IRENA’s role in supporting its members in this energy transition and how can ASEAN Center for Energy partner with IRENA to add strategic value to this effort?
ACE plays its roles as a think tank, catalyst, and knowledge hub to assist AMS in achieving its Renewable Energy (RE) and Energy Efficiency (EE) targets, as well as advancing climate action with strong support from IRENA. The AEO6, the flagship document of ACE, explicitly addresses the national RE and EE policies, regional RE and EE targets, and global SDG7 goals in its scenarios. Such study explored vital measures to achieve the APAEC targets, with specific notes on its emission impact and investment requirement, providing background for science-based policymaking. ACE will open any potential collaborative work together with IRENA to do any further flagship publication related to the energy transition.
Moving forward, IRENA could work closely with ASEAN by enhancing capacity-building activities to support ACE to become the centre of excellence for renewable energy development. Cooperation with IRENA is an excellent opportunity to advance the ACE’s efforts to help the ASEAN policymakers to accelerate the energy transition by achieving the 23% RE share in TPES in 2025.