One of the key issues facing the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in meeting the formidable challenge of providing affordable, lower carbon emission and modern energy services while ensuring equitable access is ASEAN’s capability to adapt and apply best available energy technologies, and to innovate energy technology solutions appropriate to the local context. This review paper reveals that, in general, a significant gap exists between the technologies in stock in ASEAN and the best available technologies globally. There is also a huge knowledge and capacity divide between current, predominant practices and the best practices in energy efficiency within each ASEAN member as well as in the design and implementation of supportive policy measures for the development and deployment of cleaner technologies among the member States. Taken together, significant scope exists for efficiency upgrading of conventional power generation facilities.
There are abundant renewable energy sources, particularly bio-based resources for heat, electricity, and transport fuel production, hydropower, geothermal and solar energy. Potential exists for the applications of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology in enhanced oil recovery (EOR) as well as for power generation and industry sectors, although CCS technology feasibility has yet to be determined. In addition, opportunities abound for energy saving and, hence CO2 emission reduction, in all end-use and final service sectors.
However, developing countries in ASEAN generally face difficulties in following, adopting and implementing policies and strategies on the development and deployment of appropriate energy technology options to ensure energy security and access on the one hand, and on limiting greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions on the other. This is due to a number of economic and non-economic barriers, ranging from (a) the lack of technical information and capability, financial schemes and investment resources, and human capital capacity, cultural, institutional and legal barriers, to (b) the absence of forward-looking science, technology and innovation policies.
To move the energy technology agenda in ASEAN forward, it is proposed, first and foremost, that Governments set clear and achievable long-term goals/targets, with appropriate implementation strategies. Agencies responsible for establishing strategies and implementing programmes must be in place, together with programme monitoring and evaluation mechanisms. Energy technology development and innovation policies should be sector and end-use specific, and their definition and formulation should be based on clear and achievable objectives as well as in-depth consultation with relevant stakeholders. A well-defined technology development plan covering 3-5 years could then be developed in collaboration with the respective ministries.
In the case of research and development (R&D), such programmes should be well-defined with a perspective for eventual commercialisation, and should therefore cover the research, development, demonstration and deployment (RDD&D) aspects. Research and development grants should also be awarded on a transparent, competitive basis to collaborative project proposals involving academic institutions and industry partners. 2
In addition, Governments should provide easy access to financing for innovation and investment in innovative projects through various schemes. Currently, a number of international financing mechanisms/schemes can be accessed by ASEAN countries, particularly with regard to climate or green financing.
At the ASEAN level, a number of policy recommendations are proposed for the promotion of intra-ASEAN and ASEAN-dialogue partner co-operation in science, technology innovation. These recommendations cover human capacity development, talent mobility, ASEAN centres of excellence in energy technology, joint international energy science and scientific research programmes, industry-targeted translational programmes, energy technology facilitation services, and energy-orientated science, technology and innovation (STI) policy research.
With regard to financing, it is felt that an ASEAN-focused trust fund that would support a specific clean energy technology development and deployment agenda is desirable. Thus the setting up of an ASEAN Clean Energy Technology Trust Fund (CETTF) is proposed in order to serve as a key instrument to remove financial and related barriers to the development and deployment of clean energy technologies at the ASEAN level. The objectives of the fund are to (a) provide financial support for projects, (b) divert private investors’ risks by leveraging with its own funds and (c) offer technical assistance to investors through project loans, grants, and technical knowledge provision and exchange. However, a more detailed definition of CETTF based on broader stakeholder consultation needs to be conducted, and an in-depth investigation should be carried out to test and validate its feasibility and practicality.
Lim Chee Ming,
Aishah Mohd Isa,
Maxensius tri Sambodo,