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COVID-19 vs ASEAN Energy Sector: Renewables

Iqlima Fuqoha and Rika Safrina
06 May 2020

Key Points

  • As renewable energy (RE) is a fast-growing market in the region owing to its declining trend of generation cost in recent years, ASEAN is aiming to achieve the 23% renewable target in total primary energy supply in the next 5 years.
  • A foreseen inevitable global recession as a result of the preven-tive containment policies and extremely low oil prices at present could discourage the clean energy transition agenda due to less competitiveness of renewable energy. The COVID-19 crisis brings multiple implications in energy supply and demand as well as efforts in combat-ing climate change. The plunge of overall energy demand because of behavioural changes such as working from home could lessen carbon emissions.
  • Notwithstanding solar becomes the fastest-growing renewables in the region recently, ASEAN still heavily reliant on equipment manufacturers and raw materials from China where the emer-gence of the outbreak.
  • Renewable energy sector is also inevitably hit by this pandemic, remarkably under the disrupted supply chain and logistic which cause inevitable postponed projects. This pandemic creates both, opportunities and threat to RE as target and priorities of government are still on the fence. However, there is an optimism that this pandemic could shine a silver lining on how to progress with the energy transition and shape the RE industries once the economy bounces back.
  • Despite the black cloud hanging over the RE, several positive actions are observed in ASEAN during the COVID-19 crisis. The policymakers should take the momentum to reset their policies to pursue energy transition agenda and climate goals. There are many reasons why the government should utilise RE when the pandemic is over. First, the RE sector is believed to be ableto create the biggest job opportunities. In order to boost RE development during post-pandemic, the governments can provide green stimulus packages for RE markets, such as renewing their investment, easing credit termsin financing RE projects, and reducing cost competitiveness with fossil fuels