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Energy Efficiency in the Time of COVID-19: A vehicle for improved well-being and economic recovery in emerging Asia

13 October 2020

Jakarta, 13 October 2020ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE), International Energy Agency (IEA), China Energy Conservation Association (EMCA) and India Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) recently co-organised a webinar titled Energy Efficiency in the Time of Covid-19: a vehicle for improved well-being and economic recovery in emerging Asia. There are 5 invited speakers, Dr. Brian Motherway (Head of Energy Efficiency Division of IEA), Mr. Abhay Bakre (Director General of BEE), Mr. Rio Jon Piter Silitonga (Sustainable Energy, Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Officer of ACE), Ms. Lily Zhao from EMCA and Mr. Alexander Ablaza (Asia-Pacific ESCO Industry Alliance). The webinar was moderated by Ms. Melanie Slade from IEA.

The first speaker, Dr. Brian Motherway spoke about What energy efficiency (EE) can offer economic recovery packages. He underlined the importance of a sustainable recovery plan in improving resilience and sustainability of the energy system while supporting economic recovery and jobs at the same time. The economic benefits of implementing this recovery plan will be very huge. It is estimated that around USD 600 billion of energy expenditure could be avoided in industry or USD 500 billion avoided household energy spending by 2040. Learning from the past programme, he addressed regulatory barriers, “shovel-ready” options, leveraging existing programme and standardising the contract, designs, and technology.

The second presenter, Mr. Abhay Bakre discussed the role of EE in contributing economic recovery in the energy sector in India. First, he explained that India has managed to save USD 12,73 Billion and shave up emission up to 151,74 Mt CO2in 2018 – 2019. Then he described the declining energy intensity from 0,279 in 2012 to 0,232 in 2018, this also proves that India has managed to effectively implement EE programme. He also explains the sector-wise EE programme such as agriculture, commercial, domestic, municipal, industrial, and transport. Finally, he concluded that there are various economic recovery options in form of replacing and retrofitting of technology, EE labelling, and creating skill technical manpower.

The third presenter, Mr. Rio Jon Piter Silitonga explained the ASEAN’s Road to a Green Economic Recovery.  The first important point is that every RE and EE development in ASEAN were based on the APAEC documents target of 23% RE mix and 30% Reduction of Energy Consumption level by 2025 (based on 2005 level).  The overall regional strategy that was implemented by ASEAN region consists of Research and Development, Market Stimulation and Information, and Codes of Standard. Regarding the COVID-19 pandemic effect to the EE effort of ASEAN countries, it causes delay on the acceleration of EE policy instruments, regulation, and the postponement of EE related projects. He summarised his explanation by giving out recommendation action for policymakers such as giving governmental fiscal incentives, encouraging private participation in joint projects, and drawing up a national programme for multiple sectors in terms of better.

The fourth presenter, Ms. Lily Zhao talked about the role of Energy Service Companies (ESCOs) for China’s Green Recovery. She explained the governmental roles in promoting EE and ESCO development such as creating, fostering, regulating, leading, and encouraging market. National Supportive policies such as a direct financial award, tax incentives, public accounting system, and green financing policy play an important role. She also highlighted the ESCOs’ role in increasing economic growth by looking at the annual revenue increase and job creation. Then she concluded the opportunities & challenges such as EE is regarded as the most important and most economic measure to achieve the national goal of carbon emission, and there is still eight 5-year plan could be made and done until carbon neutrality in 2060.

The last speaker, Mr. Alexander Ablaza explained about Philippines energy efficiency for job creation and economy. He started the session by giving brief explanations that Asia-Pacific ESCO Industry Alliance (APEIA) consisted of 8 different ESCO associations from several countries such as China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Taiwan. The importance of the latest Republic Act no. 11285 is to allow the Philippines rejoins many jurisdictions around the world with an Energy Efficiency law and incentive framework in place. Moreover, the Philippines Energy Efficiency Alliance have proposed energy efficiency as a post-COVID economic stimulus to Department of Energy (DOE), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), and congress per 23 April 2020. To conclude his explanation, he stated that through energy efficiency, governments could stimulate the economy in a more sustainable way. Not to be forgotten, he also reminds us that pushing EE stimulus to legislation is just an initial step, there are other policy interventions possible to enable accelerated spending in public sector EE projects.

The webinar had a very interesting question and answer session involved all speakers and the participants.  The whole session ended by closing remarks from the moderator. It was a fruitful and insightful webinar, which could raise our overall awareness and knowledge about EE effort around emerging Asia Countries.