ASEAN Power Grid, Trans ASEAN Gas Pipeline Key to Realizing Energy Trading in ASEAN
Jakarta, 5 April 2023: Securing power supply on islands and in remote grids remains a challenge in almost all ASEAN countries. Stakeholders, including representatives from the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), Indonesia’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (MEMR), ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE), and the National Energy Council (DEN), joined two workshops at the Shangri-La Hotel in Jakarta to discuss improving energy security on islands and in remote grids in ASEAN through the use of emerging clean energy innovations.
‘Interconnectivity among ASEAN Members States (AMSs) is the crucial issue, and Indonesia wants to address it during the 2023 ASEAN Energy Chairmanship. AMSs need to be actively collaborating to enable multilateral energy trading within ASEAN. The APG and the Trans ASEAN Gas Pipeline are two initiatives we have in realising this mission,’ said Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources of Indonesia Arifin Tasrif. He was represented by Ms Rida Mulyana, Secretary General of MEMR.
Prof Hidetoshi Nishimura, President of ERIA, stressed the need for ASEAN to prepare for growing electricity demand. As one of the most dynamic and fastest-growing economic regions, ASEAN must provide a stable power supply whilst reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. He stated that huge investments must be made in power generation capacity, particularly decarbonisation technologies such as renewable energy, and in power system expansion.
Representatives from national energy departments of Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand reported the implementation progress of sub-regional power trade (Lao PDR–Thailand–Malaysia–Singapore Power Integration Project [LTMS-PIP]) and other updates on cross-border power interconnection infrastructure in their countries. Mr Ir Wanhar, Director of Electricity Techniques and Environment, MEMR, said he recommended replicating the LTMS-PIP in other ASEAN sub-region interconnection projects. The APG is expected to enhance electricity trade across borders, improve access to energy services, maintain energy security, and increase ASEAN renewable energy utilisation. Mr Wanhar added that power utilities and authorities and the private sector are pivotal to unlock potential grid interconnection.
The representatives agreed that besides ensuring the availability of necessary infrastructure, strong governance and political will are necessary for successful multilateral power trading. Mr Isaac Portugal, Senior Power Analysis of International Energy Agency, and Ms Randi Kristiansen, Economic Affairs Officer at UNESCAP, explained that intergovernmental agreements must meet political, institutional, and technical requirements to succeed.
Mr Djoko Siswanto, Secretary General of the National Energy Council of MEMR, unveiled a series of alternatives to bolster energy security in his country. Amongst the achievements he announced were the diesel power plant conversion programme or de-dieselisation to renewable energy with a target of 499 MW; diesel to gas, 304 MW; and diesel to grid, 1070 MW.
Dr Alloysius Joko Purwanto, Energy Economist at ERIA, explained the potential of liquified natural gas (LNG) as a key alternative for securing energy supply in ASEAN. He said that at the initial stage of energy transition, LNG is still needed to secure energy supply and cited an ERIA study that projected the share of natural gas in power generation to increase from 41% in 2020 to 46% in 2050.
Mr Mustafid Gunawan, Director of Oil and Gas Development Program of MEMR, told the participants that Indonesia still has the opportunity to produce significant LNG until 2035.
Mr Beni Suryadi, Acting Manager of Sustainable Renewable Energy (SRE) of ASEAN Centre of Energy, recognised the potential of solar energy to provide more economic benefits for fisheries and agriculture, and other typical activities on islands and in remote areas, with AMSs serving as suppliers.
Ms Tri Mumpuni, Executive Director of Institut Bisnis dan Ekonomi Kerakyatan, explained the importance of developing electricity infrastructure from the perspective of the local community. She explained that the community lead approach is an effective means to drive massive decarbonisation in the renewable energy generation sector, especially on islands and in remote areas.
Mr Muhammad Darwin, Head of Department of Energy and Mineral Resource, Riau Islands Province, reported that 3.68% or 25 households in Riau Islands Province have no electricity. The Riau government has an energy roadmap consisting of various programmes, including de-dieselisation through solar PV, hybrid solar power plants, mini gas engine power plant, and grid connections.
Closing the workshop, Mr Toru Furuichi, Director General for Research and Policy Design Administration at ERIA, listed three benefits from a totally or partially integrated APG system: investments can be optimised regionally or nationally, the APG can balance excess supply and demand and reduce the costs of developing energy infrastructure, and the APG can accelerate the development of renewable power generation in the regional grid. As for securing power supply on islands and in remote grids, an important strategy is shipping LNG to them. He said that to create energy security through the use of renewable energy, an optimised investment strategy is necessary to balance the development of natural gas facilities and renewable energy sources and technologies.