HCM CITY (VNS) — The ASEAN Community, which is expected to need more sources of energy in the near future, relies too much on hydropower for electricity, local and international experts said at a recent conference held in HCM City.
Speaking at the conference held by the UBM Asia and Joint Graduate School of Energy and Environment in Thailand, they said that hydropower still remained the main energy source while other types of renewable energy, including solar, biomass, wind, biogas, ocean energy, geothermal and solid waste, had not been used although they have vast potential.
Professor Christoph Menke, Senior Energy Policy Advisor GIZ in Southeast Asia, said ASEAN countries had only US$2.4 trillion in total GDP.
The countries produce a total of 35GW of renewable energy.
“When we talk about renewable energy in ASEAN, we are talking hydropower,” said Menke, predicting that Southeast Asia, the key pillar of Asia’s growth, will be an increasingly important influence on world energy trends.
Statistics in 2013 show that the total power generation in ASEAN was 814,629GWh.
Only 20 per cent, or 163,533GWh, was renewable energy.
Southeast Asia’s energy landscape is set for major change, with energy demand growing by 80 percent from today through 2040, accompanying a regional economy that will more than triple in size and population, rising by 25 percent to 760 million.
By 2040, the region requires only 55 percent as much energy per unit of GDP as it did in 2013, but much more could be done.
Rising imports have sharpened focus on economic and security aspects of energy use.
The power sector will shape the energy outlook for Southeast Asia as electricity demand will almost triple by 2040, with the shift towards coal set to continue 400 GW of additional power generation in ASEAN.
The share of coal in power generation will rise from 30 per cent to 50 per cent, contrary to the trend seen in most other parts of the world, while that of natural gas will decline from 44 per cent to 26 per cent.
“So far, there is nearly no solar energy produced in ASEAN,” Menke said.
Huynh Kim Tuoc, director of HCM City Energy Conservation Center, estimates that Viet Nam’s total electricity generated from renewable energy will increase to 101 billion KWh in 2020, 186 billion HWh by 2030, and 452 billion KWh by 2050.
Electricity generated from small hydropower plants is 1,670MW in the country.
Small hydropower plants contribute over 94 per cent of energy of Viet Nam. Other types of renewable energy such as wind energy and solar energy are not significant, Tuoc said.
Viet Nam plans to increase the renewable energy rate by 4.5 per cent by 2020 and 6 per cent by 2030. — VNS