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ACE’s Participation at the 2023 World Hydropower Congress: Powering Sustainable Growth

09 November 2023

The 2023 World Hydropower Congress was successfully hosted by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources of Indonesia in collaboration with PLN (Perusahaan Listrik Negara─Indonesia’s State Electricity Company), and the International Hydropower Association (IHA) from 31 October to 2 November 2023. This momentous event brought together over 300 organisations and delegates from 43 countries, all working towards the common goal of powering sustainable growth through hydropower.

The significance of sustainable hydropower in the transition to a net-zero future was emphasised by H.E. Malcolm Turnbull, President of IHA, who stated, “Sustainable hydropower is the backbone of future energy systems. The 2023 World Hydropower Congress provided an excellent opportunity for hydropower to demonstrate its crucial role in the journey to net zero. The importance of advancing sustainable hydropower in powering sustainable growth was underscored by His Excellency President Joko Widodo.”

The President of the Republic of Indonesia, H.E. Joko Widodo, welcomed delegates to the World Hydropower Congress with a commitment to the ongoing development of sustainable hydropower in Indonesia, saying, “I hope the World Hydropower Congress will help with international collaboration for sustainable hydropower to help develop a sustainable green global economy.”

The ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE) played a pivotal role in the congress by co-hosting the “ASEAN High-Level Dialogue” session. Dr. Nuki Agya Utama, Executive Director of ACE, acted as a context setter for the session. The ASEAN High-Level Dialogue was welcomed by H.E. Arifin Tasrif, Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources of Indonesia, moderated by H.E. Malcolm Turnbull, President of IHA, and featured esteemed panellists, including Datuk Haji Sharbini Suhaili, CEO of Sarawak Energy; Mr. Darmawan Prasodjo, President Director of PLN Indonesia; Datuk Ir. Ts. Abdul Razib Dawood, CEO of the Energy Commission Malaysia; Ms. Marissa P Cerezo, Director of Renewable Energy Management Bureau, Department of Energy of the Philippines; and Ms. Sophary Soeng, Economic Attaché, Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Cambodia to ASEAN.

During the context setting, Dr. Nuki highlighted that hydropower plays a critical role in ASEAN’s energy security and sustainability, serving as the region’s largest renewable energy source, accounting for 19.9% of the 33.6% total installed renewable energy capacity in 2021. It also serves as a key dispatchable power source for the future. Hydropower holds a significant 35.4% capacity share by 2050, essential for balancing the variability of expanding intermittent renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Dr. Nuki closed his remarks by emphasising that now is the time for ASEAN to incentivise sustainable hydropower development through financial and market mechanisms to create a level playing field for hydropower alongside other renewable energy technologies.

On the second day of the congress, Dr. Nuki joined the “Hydropower in an Interconnected World” session as the keynote speaker and moderator. In his keynote speech, he discussed the ASEAN Interconnection Masterplan Study (AIMS) III, which identifies 18 interconnector projects poised to realise ASEAN’s energy ambitions. He emphasised that by successfully implementing the Power Development Plan (PDP), ASEAN can achieve 39% renewable energy installed capacity by 2025. To reach the aspirational 23% target of Total Primary Energy Supply (TPES) by 2025, a substantial increase in renewable energy expansion to 44% is required, with a significant contribution expected from hydro resources.

However, achieving these targets is not without challenges, as it necessitates an interconnection capacity of 19.9 GW. Dr. Nuki stressed that hydropower’s role is significant, with an expected contribution of approximately 60 G.W. by 2025, reflecting the committed hydropower capacity in the current PDP until 2040. He also highlighted the Lao PDR-Thailand-Malaysia-Singapore Power Integration Project (LTMS PIP) as a testament to ASEAN’s commitment and capability, which is predominantly hydropower-powered. The substantial connection between West Kalimantan in Indonesia and Sarawak in Malaysia is sustained by Sarawak’s 50-130 MW hydropower input.

Echoing the 41st ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting (AMEM) output, Dr. Nuki concluded his keynote presentation by highlighting the imperative need for ASEAN to come together across borders to determine the most optimal blend of low-carbon renewable energy technologies. Only through this collaborative approach can we pave the way for sustainable development that aligns with our goals of achieving energy security, affordability, accessibility, and sustainability for all.