ASEAN region has potential for 70 percent green energy

Sept. 26, 2013 at 2:05 PM   |   0 comments

JAKARTA, Sept. 26 (UPI) -- A new Greenpeace report says that by 2050 green energy could account for 70 percent of the electricity generation for the 10 countries comprising the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

That boost in green energy could also result in $2.8 trillion worth of investment, $2.7 trillion in fuel-cost savings and 1.1 million jobs by 2030, the report says.

Greenpeace launched the report, "Energy [R]evolution: A Sustainable Asean Energy Outlook," at the 31st annual meeting of ASEAN energy ministers in Bali, Indonesia this week, the Jakarta Globe reports. The Asean countries are: Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

About 28 percent of the region's total population, or approximately 160 million people, still had no access to electricity, the Greenpeace report says.

Making solar panels assessable, for example, could result in electricity generation for remote or deprived Southeast Asian communities currently unconnected to electricity grids, Greenpeace says.

Noting that energy demand in the region was growing at an unprecedented rate, Sven Teske, renewable energies director at Greenpeace International said the ASEAN countries "have more than enough natural resources to become a leading player for clean, renewable energies."

"Renewable energies are more competitive than coal, utilize indigenous local resources and create more employment," Teske said. "Using more renewables is now an advantage for the economy, not a burden and reduces their dependence on dirty, imported fossil fuels like oil and coal."

The "deteriorating climate" should also be ASEAN's top concern, said Amalie H. Obusan, regional climate and energy campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

Speaking at the opening of the ASEAN energy ministers' meeting Wednesday, Indonesian Vice President Boediono, who uses only one name, noted that his country was ready to take the initiative to develop cooperation in the field of renewable energy in the region, specifying that cooperation should be based on fair principles of benefit sharing, the Jakarta Post reports.

"ASEAN is able to build an energy cooperation network but it should be conducted with a fair mechanism and long-term objectives," he said, stressing that member states should balance their respective national interests with the region's common interests.

Also speaking at the meeting, Indonesian Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Jero Wacik said the region "undeniably has huge potential for renewable energy, but it is also the biggest energy consumer."

Delegations from ASEAN's dialogue partners -- China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, India, New Zealand, Russia and the United States -- also attended the meeting.

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