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COVID-19 vs ASEAN Energy Sector: Renewables – Recap of 2020

Nadhila Shani and Zulfikar Yurniadi
05 February 2021

Key Points

  • Entering the new year of 2021, the world could not shrug off the pandemic just yet. Mixed messages from vaccine development and new virus strain solidifies 2021 as another year of uncertainty. But cautious optimism lingers, especially in renewables sector.
  • Impact of the pandemic started kicking in in the first quarter of 2020, around late February and early March when the virus began take a toll in global RE progress due to lockdown and mobility restriction measures by most of governments.
  • Running towards the second half of 2020, RE sector gradually recovered as new normal has rolled out in many ASEAN countries despite that the impact such as delay in projects still lingers.
  • Throughout the year of 2020, renewables sector struggled along with most economic sectors. Positive trajectory was recorded, though. Encouraging news became more common nearing the end of the challenging year. Highlights such as Vietnam’s continued solar revolution and Myanmar’s solar auction, among others, defined the resiliency of renewables sector in 2020. Discourses and policy actions of renewables as integral part of pandemic response and recovery were observed as well. 2021 is shaping to be another year of uncertainty, but the cautious optimism of energy transition could come from the mixture of renewables promotion and green recovery
  • Even back in Q1 2020, some positivisms were in the air amid the COVID-19 black cloud. Among them is the significant emission drop, caused by the halted economic activity. Throughout May, study found that air pollution clears up in some citiesin Southeast Asia. Caution, though, is still reserved for the rebound impact once the lockdown situation is eased up.