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Advancing Energy Security: ERIA Holds Second Workshop for White Paper in Support of Lao PDR's ASEAN Chairmanship

9 May 2024

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Vientiane, 9 May 2024: ERIA co-hosted a two-day workshop with the Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM) of Lao PDR for the development of a White Paper on ‘Energy Security Policy Directions for Inclusive and Sustainable Development Lao PDR and the Implication for ASEAN’ under the 2024 Lao Chairmanship.

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Energy and Mines, Khamso Kouphokham, opened the workshop. In his opening remarks, he stressed the importance of all stakeholders’ involvement to provide valuable inputs into the formulation of this White Paper for its successful implementation. Secretary Kouphokham also highlighted the aim to develop this important White Paper as a policy direction, addressing cross-cutting issues to tackle the complexities of energy security in Lao PDR and their implications for ASEAN countries.

Naoto Okura, Chief of Staff of the President's Office of ERIA, delivered opening remarks for ERIA on behalf of its president. He emphasized the crucial role of Lao PDR, alongside other ASEAN Member States, in fulfilling the commitments of the Paris Agreement towards carbon neutrality. Okura underscored the necessity for substantial greenhouse gas emission reductions through a fundamental overhaul of energy systems, starting with decarbonising the power sector and progressing towards electrification or decarbonisation of other energy consumption sectors.    

‘Looking at the energy security of Lao PDR, it is very important to understand the overall energy landscape of the country, the trends in policy development to support Lao PDR’s nationally determined contributions commitments, and the resources needed to meet the growing demand for clean energy and technologies, while ensuring adequate financing for energy transition,’ he said, stressing on the importance of securing financing for sustainable energy infrastructure to facilitate the energy transition, particularly in economies heavily reliant on fossil fuels like Lao PDR.

‘In this regard, ERIA has been studying transition finance and potential carbon markets in the region. These studies will be accelerated by the establishment of the Asia Zero Emission Centre in ERIA in the near future,’ said Okura, who also noted the importance of this workshop in the process of finalising an important policy document on energy security.

This second workshop is a continuation of the first workshop held last February, where the consultative process was carried out with wider participation from involved government agencies, ministries, embassies, and development partners. The experts have incorporated the inputs from the first consultative workshop to ensure that the White Paper reflects the real situation in Lao PDR. In this second workshop, the experts also presented the updated progress of their work to be included in the policy document of the White Paper.

Dr Han Phoumin, Senior Energy Economist of ERIA, presented an overview of the White Paper which consists of 15 Chapters, covering various aspects of energy security including power systems; sustainable transport; affordable energy for industry, commercial, and residential sectors; energy efficiency in the end-use sector; energy management systems; alternative and innovative energy technology; sustainable hydropower; carbon market mechanisms; energy financing; and capacity building to bridge knowledge gaps.

The White Paper authors and experts from ERIA attending the workshop were Dr Han Phoumin, Kei Sudo, Citra Endah Nur Setyawati, and Ryan Wiratama Bhaskara. The other experts were Ruengsak Thitirasakul, Petroleum Institute of Thailand; Prof Phouphet Kyophilavong, National University of Laos; Ir Leong Siew Meng, Green Technology Solutions PLT; Ir Ong Ching Loon, Cofreth (M) Sdn Bhd Malaysia; Ir Lam Kim Seong, Prudenergy, Consulting Sdn Bhd; Dr Anousak Phongsavath, Director General of MEM; Mr Meas Sopheak, Mekong River Commission Secretariat (MRCS); Dr Hoyyen Chan, Invite Green Consultancy, Energy-Climate Specialist; Dr Weerawat Chantanakome, Ministry of Energy Thailand; Prof Farhad Taghizadeh-Hesary of Tokai University; Dr Chin Wai Meng, Daikin Research & Development Malaysia; Chea Suei Keong, Daikin Applied (Malaysia). ERIA’s Senior Energy Economist Dr Alloysius Joko Purwanto and Director of Mekong Affairs and Capacity Building, Jeremy Gross, was unable to attend in-person.

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