The Launch of Biogas-to-Electricity Development in ASEAN

Online, 29 November 2022

ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE), together with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH through the ASEAN-German Energy Programme (AGEP) on Tuesday, 29 November 2022, launched the first of its kind Biogas-to-Electricity Development in ASEAN study report. The launching event was attended virtually by officials from ACE, AGEP, GIZ, ASEAN Member States, ASEAN Renewable Energy Sub-Sector Network (RE-SSN) representatives, and 76 registered participants.

This study was developed to advocate for the growth of biogas in the AMS power industry. This study intends to provide AMS with a solid platform to plan and construct its strong policies and strategies to fill the gap left by the potential for untapped biogas. The integration of more sustainable energy and increased energy security are anticipated to significantly change the ASEAN region’s energy landscape as the share of biogas in power generation increases.

Dr. Nuki Agya Utama, Executive Director of ACE, and Mr. Sergey Makarov, Principal Advisor of GIZ AGEP opened the event. Dr. Nuki, in his remarks, mentioned Southeast Asia’s well-known trademark of abundant reserves of biogas feedstock that can be a prominent solution to solve these arising climate and environmental challenges through its utilisation as an energy source. He added that paying tremendous attention to biogas development is not an exaggeration but a welcome opportunity for all current and future stakeholders. Mr. Sergey echoed the same concern as Dr. Nuki’s about Biogas utilisation as a solution for future higher energy demands in the region. He accentuated the importance of structural training and deployment of additional financial resources as solutions to current barriers and challenges in Biogas technology development.

Ms. Ngoc Huong Giang Vu, the Associate Research Analyst at the ASEAN Centre for Energy, conveyed a presentation about “Biogas-to-Electricity Development in ASEAN: Challenges & Opportunities” which is also one of the key findings of the report. In her presentation, she conveyed that the underline basis of this report is the Renewable Energy Programme Area of the ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation (APAEC) 2016-2025 Phase II: 2021-2025, which targets to increase the share of RE to 23% in Total Primary Energy Supply and 35% in total installed power capacity by 2025.

More specifically, the outcome of this study would support action plan 5.2 of the APAEC phase II: conduct study on the potential of biofuel and bioenergy. According to Ms. Ngoc Huong Giang Vu, the report addresses the needs and barriers regarding the social, technological, economic, environmental, and political aspects of biogas in ASEAN’s electricity. She iterated the lack of technical knowledge, political and regulatory frameworks, public awareness, and inadequate feedstock competition for different purposes is the leading technological barrier to biogas-to-electricity development in ASEAN. Furthermore, high upfront investment costs, unavailability of dedicated financial aid and funding, and the gap in policies and actual incentive needs are also hindering development.

The report also shows that only 2 AMS, Thailand and Malaysia, have a more mature market and are ready to be commercially consumed because they have conducted large-scale technology studies and have implemented the required policy framework and regulations. Indonesia and Myanmar remain in the niche market as they still need more focus and research for implementation. Cambodia, Singapore, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Lao PDR are deemed to be either economically unfeasible or require substantial pilot project developments. Lastly, Brunei Darussalam is reviewed as unable to implement this technology or considered early in the research stages compared to other AMS.

Moreover, she added that the report recommends alleviating the biogas deployment barrier using regulatory and non-regulatory instruments. These recommendations are based on a thorough mapping of each member state so that it can provide the country’s specific recommendation for further biogas implementation. Those recommendations would fall into six essential enabling factors for biogas-to-electricity uptake. First, the need for broad public awareness of the environmental co-benefits of biogas. Second, the robust and supportive regulatory frameworks. Third, synergy and effective coordination. Fourth, advocacy and policymaker engagement. Fifth, international collaborations and adoption of proven successful models. Finally, sixth is the key stakeholder capacity building and access to financing.

After the presentation, Mr. Zulfikar Yurnaidi, Senior Technical Officer at ASEAN Centre for Energy, as the moderator of the panel discussion, welcomed the panellist, Ms. Juthamas Kijjanuluck, Senior Professional Scientist from DEDE Thailand, Ms. Ade Sri Rahayu, External Consultant at GIZ Indonesia, Ms. Thoa Le Thi, Team Leader of Climate Protection through Sustainable Bioenergy Markets (BEM) at GIZ Vietnam, and Ms. Ngoc Huong Giang Vu.


Ms. Juthamas Kijjanuluck, revealed that Thailand has put a target of 30% of final energy consumption of alternative energy by 2037 in its Alternative Energy Development Plan (AEDP), and has also included the implementation plan of 1,565 MW of biogas power plant. She added that Thailand is now almost halfway through that target, around 600 MW, and they are utilising mainly industrial wastewater for their biogas power plants. She also believes that financial and policy incentives would work well for implementing biogas power plants in parallel with technology development because it will ensure that investors are interested in implementing these types of projects.

Ms. Ade Sri Rahayu added that Indonesia’s biogas technical potential, based on the study conducted by GIZ explore, is at 1.3 GW, with most of the feedstock coming from the palm oil industry tapioca mills and animal farms. Still, the current implementation only reached 162 MW or only 12% of its potential. She stated that the government of Indonesia, based on the latest RUPTL (power development plan developed by PT. Perusahaan Listrik Negara) by 2030, is targeting an installed capacity of 590 MW of bioenergy power plants which is counted only at 3% of the 29GW renewable energy target. She concluded that despite the huge potential, the government is not pushing higher targets for its utilisation.

The session continued with a brief commentary on the current biogas-to-electricity barriers in ASEAN from Ms. Thoa Le Thi. According to Ms. Thoa, the government of Vietnam has already proposed the implementation of feed-in-tariff for bioenergy. They have conducted numerous studies in the cassava, livestock, and food processing industries to determine the biogas potential while stating that Vietnam currently has 2000 MW biogas plant installed capacity. She expressed her concern that Vietnam until now still does not have any incentive mechanism to support biogas to electricity utilisation. One potential implementation of a biogas power plant in Vietnam is in their 20.000 livestock farms still using diesel generators to produce electricity. She and her team are actively encouraging them to convert into biogas generators.

Finally, Ms. Ngoc Huong Giang Vu added that strong collaboration and sharing the know-how between the government and biogas producers is important to help remaining member states with less experience in implementing biogas power plants. She told the panel that the role of ASEAN in this context could be a sharing platform for all the member states to help each other with the development of Biogas power plants to utilise the potential as much as possible.

To understand more about the topic, the event recording can be accessed here.

To download the report, please follow this link.

To download the presentation, please follow this link.



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