The ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE) participated in the 6th Russian Energy Week (REW) and the 5th Meeting of Network of ASEAN-Russia Think Tank (NARTT), contributing valuable insights into global energy transition strategies.
6th Russian Energy Week (REW) on 11-13 October 2023
During the panel session titled “Scenarios of Global Energy Development”, Dr. Nuki Agya Utama, Executive Director of ACE, presented insightful analyses of the energy transition scenarios in ASEAN, emphasising the unique challenges facing the region and the key success factors. As a conglomerate of mostly emerging economies, ASEAN’s economy is projected to grow by over four times in the next three decades. With this growth, the primary energy demand is expected to surge, as indicated in the 7th ASEAN Energy Outlook (AEO7). He stressed the significance of energy efficiency to optimise energy utilisation, potentially reducing primary energy demand by nearly 1,000 million tons of oil equivalent (mtoe) by 2050.
He highlighted the continued reliance on fossil fuels in ASEAN, particularly in the transport, power, and industry sectors. Dr. Nuki underlined the need for energy transition to acknowledge and address this reliance on fossil fuels, considering both energy security and sustainability. He pointed out that from an energy security perspective, ASEAN could transition to being a net importer of gas by 2025 and even a net importer of coal by 2039.
In the pursuit of sustainability, Dr. Nuki promoted renewable energy while complementing it with other clean technology options, such as carbon capture and bioenergy. He discussed ASEAN Member States’ focus on interconnectivity as a key strategy for energy transition, citing the potential benefits outlined in the AEO7 and the ASEAN Interconnection Masterplan Study (AIMS) III. Realising the cross-border interconnection system, known as the ASEAN Power Grid, can catalyse higher penetration of renewable energy and enhance energy supply security. He revealed that ACE has identified 18 potential interconnection projects as of May 2023.
Dr. Nuki also stressed that interconnectivity goes beyond electricity, encompassing oil and gas, bioenergy, hydrogen, and even carbon. He emphasised that transitioning from a fossil fuel-dependent system to one based on cleaner energy sources requires substantial investments. In the power sector, these investments are influenced by electricity demand, which, in turn, depends on electrification and energy efficiency improvements. According to AEO7, power sector investments are estimated to range from 726-1,070 billion USD from 2021-2050.
Dr. Nuki highlighted the critical role of critical minerals in clean energy technologies and noted ASEAN’s significant reserves of these minerals, including nickel, tin, and bauxite. He commended ASEAN’s unity in addressing energy issues through the ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation (APAEC), an energy cooperation blueprint that places emphasis on energy connectivity and market integration.
Dr. Nuki‘s participation in the session was alongside a distinguished group of experts, including Abderrezak Benyoucef, Head of the Energy Studies Department, Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Galia Fazelyanova, Analyst, Energy Economics and Forecasting Department, Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF), Karin Kneissl, Head of the G.O.R.K.I. Centre (Geopolitical Observatory on Key Issues in Russia), St. Petersburg University; Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Austria (2017–2019), Vyacheslav Kulagin, Head, Department for Research of the Energy Complex for Russia and the World, Energy Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Alexey Kulapin, General Director, Russian Energy Agency (REA) of the Ministry of Energy of Russia, and Delcy Eloina Rodriguez Gomez, Executive Vice President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
5th Meeting of Network of ASEAN-Russia Think Tank (NARTT) on 9-10 October 2023
Dr. Nuki Agya Utama, Executive Director of ACE, joined a distinguished panel of experts at the 5th NARTT, including Vladimir Drebentsov, Chief Advisor to the General Director of the Russian Energy Agency of the Ministry of Energy of Russia, Laode Sulaeman, Director of Planning and Development of Oil and Gas Infrastructure, Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources of Indonesia, Ilya Darmanov, Director of Center, Center for Energy markets analysis, NIIgazeconomika LLC, Igbal Guliyev, Deputy Director of the International Institute of Energy Policy and Diplomacy MGIMO Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, Dr. Atit Tippichai, King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang (KMITL), Thailand, and Alexey Gromov, Principal director on Energy Studies, Head of the Energy Department, Institute for Energy and Finance Foundation.
Dr. Nuki‘s presentation underscored the pressing need to assess the ongoing transformations in the energy sector, which has seen the term “energy transition” become a ubiquitous concept. He called for collective introspection, exploring how both Russia and ASEAN Member States perceive these changes and highlighting their unique priorities in scientific, technological, and technical tasks within their respective national energy sectors. He championed a cooperative approach, identifying areas of mutual benefit for scientific and technological collaboration in the energy domain.
In his presentation, Dr. Nuki shared ACE’s roles as a Catalyst, Knowledge Hub, and Think Tank to the audience, emphasising ACE’s openness to continue energy collaboration with any or all ASEAN countries. He delved into ASEAN’s strategies for addressing energy transition, which are primarily guided by the ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation (APAEC). This action plan is built on four fundamental pillars, all aimed at achieving Energy Security, Accessibility, Affordability, and Sustainability for All while enhancing energy connectivity and market integration in ASEAN.
Dr. Nuki emphasised the role of innovation and collaboration in expediting energy transition and highlighted the critical importance of energy resiliency, given the energy sector’s potential volatility. He discussed the seven programme areas within APAEC, covering diverse aspects of energy transition, including the interconnectivity of power systems, integration of oil and gas markets, clean coal technology, energy efficiency, and renewable energy.
Drawing from the insights presented in the 7th ASEAN Energy Outlook (AEO7), Dr. Nuki spotlighted the continued growth in energy demand and the dominance of fossil fuels in the energy supply mix. He underlined the imperative of making fossil fuels cleaner through innovative technologies such as carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCU/S), nuclear energy, hydrogen, and biofuels.
The presentation resonated with the progress in renewable energy, with Dr. Nuki sharing encouraging statistics on the region’s achievements. He emphasised the role of energy cooperation and innovation in accelerating the energy transition, especially within the context of the ASEAN Power Grid’s cross-border interconnection system, which optimises costs and enables higher renewable energy penetration.
Financing was acknowledged as both a bottleneck and catalyst for energy transition, with significant investments required, especially for electrification and renewable electricity generation. While the importance of critical minerals in clean energy technologies was underscored by Dr. Nuki, noting ASEAN’s abundance of these minerals, such as nickel, tin, and bauxite.
In conclusion, Dr. Nuki reaffirmed ACE’s unwavering commitment to fostering sustainable growth and complementing the region’s efforts through continuous collaboration with ASEAN’s dialogue partners, including Russia.
Previously, Dr. Zulfikar Yurnaidi, Manager of Energy Modelling and Policy Planning (MPP) Department of ACE, moderated a session titled “Assessing New Trends in Regional and Global Economic Development.” Speakers include Dr. Fajar Hirawan, Head of the Department of Economics, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Prof. Dr. Un Leang, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Royal University of Phom Penh, Prof. Dr. , Dr. Naing Swe Oo, Founder and Executive Director Thayninga Institute for Strategic Studies, and Mr. Daniyar Akkaziev, CEO of Russia-ASEAN Business Council.