Southeast Asian Nations Tout Green Power Links Ahead of COP26

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The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are speeding up their plans to transmit renewable energy through a proposed regional power grid, with first trials set for 2022, as the area strives to meet climate change targets, government and company officials said.

The announcements come ahead of the U.N. COP26 climate summit starting in Glasgow, considered one of the last opportunities for countries to announce firm targets for cutting emissions this decade.

Some members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are also exploring carbon capture storage (CCS) technology to reduce emissions, officials said at this week’s Singapore International Energy Week conference. ASEAN has proposed that 23% of primary energy come from renewable sources by 2025.

The ASEAN grid, an idea first proposed in 1999 to enhance regional energy security, will now facilitate renewable power transmission. Australia has also been tapped for its green energy supplies with plans to export to Singapore.

Singapore will start importing renewable electricity from Malaysia by 2022 and later that year utilities in ASEAN will start transmitting the first 100 megawatts (MW) of electricity under a Laos-Thailand-Malaysia-Singapore power integration project as part of a regional grid project.

“We’ve heard some very positive announcements in terms of investments going into renewables,” Gauri Singh, Deputy Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) said.

“ASEAN are really looking at bringing in almost one-quarter of the energy from renewables by 2025 – that’s a very ambitious goal that they’ve set for themselves, but I think the international cooperation, and regional cooperation are going to play a very, very important role,” she added.

Still, many ASEAN countries must address their reliance on fossil fuels in their power generation mix to meet their climate targets said Indonesia’s minister of energy and natural resources.

“The ASEAN region is still in some ways dependent on coal power – this situation must be carefully considered when setting our path towards carbon neutrality, and significant efforts should be made,” Tasrif said.

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