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Webinar on Sustainable Finance for Clean Energy in ASEAN

27 October 2023

On October 17, 2023, in collaboration with the International Energy Agency (IEA) and Energy Foundation China, the ASEAN Center for Energy (ACE) hosted a Webinar on Sustainable Finance for Clean Energy in ASEAN. The webinar focused on topics regarding clean energy financing and showcased the current challenges and recent developments. Some notable speakers from the webinar included figures from several ASEAN member states (AMS) governments, international organisations, private energy firms, and financial institutions.

The webinar started with opening remarks from the IEA’s Acting Head of Energy Investment, Ms Cecilia Tan, outlining the current conditions of energy production and investment in the ASEAN region. She mentioned that though increases in renewable energy investment are up in Asia, it is still somewhat stagnant compared to other parts of the world. One key point for future development is to build financial capacity to enable energy investment funding within AMS.

The first speaker was Ms Rika Safrina, A Senior Analyst at ACE. She highlighted the dynamic energy situation and the current financial situation for energy investment in ASEAN. She mentioned that ASEAN is dominated by limited public finance for clean energy projects, with private investors viewing the projects as high-risk and low-return investments. She also recommended some policy suggestions: to expand capacity and capability to attract clean energy investments and to have an integrated consolidated approach to green fiscal conditions.

Ms Rika Safrina, Senior Analyst at ACE, presenting about power capacity projection through 2050

The second speaker, Ms Emma Gordon, an Energy Investment Analyst from the IEA, the role of sustainable finance for transition activities. An issue that clean energy face is that it is often energy-intensive and require sustainable debt to be feasible. One key point conveyed is that transition activities do not qualify for green qualifying and thus have a need for their own financial instruments. She ended by emphasising the need for regulation to drive transition finance and the use of science-based transition pathways to ensure target sets by private companies and help accelerate more capital into transition finance.

Afterwards, the webinar continued with a sharing session from two AMS government officials: Mr William Quinto, Assistant Director of the Planning Bureau, Philippines’ Department of Energy; and Ms Andriah Feby Misna, Director of New and Renewable Energy, Indonesia’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources. Both explained the current and future conditions of energy demand, renewable energy investment and the structure of future energy financing. One primary focus from Ms Misna is the need for government support to facilitate both public and private funding for clean energy investment, both from domestic and international sources. It was followed by Q&A, moderated by Dr Ambiyah Abdullah, the Senior Research Analyst from ACE, discussing the role of regional platforms, collaboration with other AMS and external partners, among others.

Mr William Quinto, Assistant Director of the Planning Bureau, Philippines Department of Energy, speaking about the breakdown of specific energy production in the Philippines.

The following session focused on experience with green bonds for clean energy transition, with speakers from international organisations and private firms.

The first speaker is Dr Shi Lin, Deputy Director of International Cooperation from the International Institute of Green Finance, a university-based Think Tank. Her focus was government incentives for green bond issuers and barriers to green bond issuers. She mentioned how China’s incentive program works and the presence of a national and local incentive program. Dr Lin then highlighted some barriers to issuers, including a lack of standardised guidelines, insufficient policy coordination within the government and the risk-averse nature of issuers for green projects. Another key issue is the gap between green financing towards urban and rural areas, focusing towards urban areas.

The second speaker, A Senior Financial Sector Specialist from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Mr Kosintr Puongsophol, provides insights into the experience of the ADB on green bonds. The ADB focuses on initial funding of green bond issuance, whose policies are targeted towards the conditions of each country. The goal of the ADB is to help attract private and outside investors to energy projects and emphasises that investment cannot solely rely on the government for investment.

The last speaker is the Deputy Chief Finance Officer from ACEN Corp, a private Philippines Renewable Energy company, Mr Juan Martin Syquia. Mr Martin provided an insight on how private green bond issuer works. He stated that ACEN Corp’s main driver is to differentiate offerings and attract different sets of investors while also establishing beyond local markets.

Mr Juan Martin Syquia, Deputy Chief Finance Officer from ACEN Corp, speaking in the webinar regarding private green bond investments.

The webinar showcased current ASEAN energy situations and the issues faced with clean energy financing while also presenting some solutions and experiences from both public and private entities. The closing remark was given by Ms Meng Qi from Energy Foundation China.