June 17, 2022
NEW DELHI – The challenges of climate change and energy security have propelled Asian nations to increasingly embrace investment in renewable energy.
For the first time panelists from five Asian countries- Vietnam, Thailand, Japan, Singapore, and India convened to share their outlook on renewable energy in a webinar, “Asia: Renewable Energy Continent” on Wednesday, June 15, 2022. The Asian countries came forward to discuss the carbon footprints in Asia, and generate ideas on how low-carbon economies can come together and tap the renewable energy resources-mainly the Solar energy.
Almost every representative country acknowledged the push in demand for renewable energies and agreed on the need of exploring the business opportunities. “Climate change challenges are providing a bigger investment opportunity which should be explored, especially in the areas of solar energy”, they agreed.
It was agreed that, while Asia is a region with tremendous potential in renewable energy, alongside significant knowledge and expertise in the area of renewable energies, the infrastructure for tapping renewable energy remains modest in comparison to ‘traditional’ ones.
Since economic model transformation and energy transition plays a key role in implementing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, contributing to the net-zero emissions target by 2050, it becomes imperative to expand the Solar energy capturing resources by widespread investment in the area, emphasised the panelists.
Acknowledging the need to encourage investments in renewable energy resources especially solar energy, H E Tran Hong Na, minister of National Resources and Environment, Vietnam agreed that tapping the solar energy is still a bit challenging. “Therefore, technological advancement is a dire need to cut down the existing shortcomings in exploring solar energy as a viable business option”, he insisted.
Anil Sood, President of an NGO working in the field of renewable energies and civil rights in India cautioned that before exploring business opportunities in renewable Solar Energy it is equally important to devise environment-friendly ways to dispose of the solar batteries.
Vietnam’s Minister highlighted seven focus points to fully unleash Asia’s potential for renewable energy development. Minister Trần Hồng Hà, in his message, said that “Climate change, environmental pollution and ecosystem degradation are the crises to humanity today.” “Asia is the continent of the fastest economic growth in the world, and also of the highest level of energy consumption. The demand for energy in the region is continually rising due to urbanisation and industrialisation happening at breakneck pace,” the minister said.
Hideki Minamikawa, President of the Japan Environmental Sanitation Center, and former Vice Minister of the Environment appreciated the Vietnamese Government’s efforts in reducing carbon emissions and shared their experience with Japan and stressed the cooperation between the two countries in renewable energy.
To fully unleash the potential of renewable energy, as well as accelerate the transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy, it was suggested that the renewable energy needs to become a public good that serves all so that everyone can have access to and benefit from renewable energy development and energy transition. In particular, communities or groups that are adversely affected by energy transition need to be provided support in terms of livelihoods and education for vocational transition
Similarly, Harald Link, Chairman of B. Grimm Power Pel based in Thailand, said the wide development of clean energy spurs innovation and this offers many insights and models for Asian countries to consider.
“Renewable energy is really the new norm now. Wherever you go, everybody’s interested in renewable energy and in the different forms, whether it’s wind, water, sun, biofuels, and even waves.” “There are a lot of innovations happening nowadays so we can look at the peer-to-peer renewable energy in various countries in Europe.”
Frank Phuan, CEO of SUNSEAP Group Pte company based in Singapore, said that he has witnessed both good and bad trends in clean energy development in the region, adding that “good is more than bad”. He emphasised the development of floating solar in hydro dams as well as the implementation of solar-integrated agriculture, notably in mainland China and Taiwan.
Anil Sood, expressed his concerns about the economic impacts of overloaded transmission networks and environmental consequences if a large number of batteries are not treated properly.
Phan Tấn Cảnh, Vice Chairman of Ninh Thuận Province People’s Committee, said: “Developing renewable energy projects has not only enhanced land-use efficiency and the value of land not suitable for agriculture, reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 97.9 per cent compared to traditional means like coal power, but also created a driving force for the development of other industries such as real estate, construction, trade, and services.”
Cooperation between countries was also emphasised in order to remove barriers, including those in intellectual property rights. This would help spur the sharing of knowledge and drive collaboration in scientific research, development, and technology transfer in the field of renewable energy from developed countries to developing ones.
It was also discussed that for encouraging the business community to increase investments in renewable energy, policies and frameworks appropriate to each country are needed beside promoting energy transition-planning, licensing, management, and operation of renewable energy development projects.
The Asian countries agreed that targets should be set for developing renewable energy, achieving net zero emissions, and reducing air pollution. This should serve as criteria for making investment decisions and developing energy projects. “In particular, it is necessary to secure the commitment from responsible financial system-including multilateral development banks, financial and credit institutions, through aligning their lending portfolios towards accelerating the renewable energy transition,” said the Vietnamese minister.
A strong need to increase investment in power transmission systems to maximise the benefits of wind and solar energy production was also mooted during the convention, for enhanced investment into infrastructure projects that accelerate the application of clean technologies such as electric vehicles (EVs) – electric cars and motorbikes, for example.
In order to encourage the business community to increase investments in renewable energy it is necessary to synchronously implement other solutions, such as the restoration of natural ecosystems; promoting circular economy in order to make the most efficient use of resources while conserving resources for future generations; and deploying technology solutions for carbon capture and storage to contribute to the realisation of net zero target etc.
The webinar was held by Viet Nam News, in collaboration with The Statesman of India and Korea Herald of South Korea, all of which are members of the Asia News Network (ANN), an alliance of 21 national media in 19 countries, and moderated by ANN executive director Pana Janviroj.
The online conference was organised by the national English language daily newspaper Việt Nam News, in collaboration with The Statesman from India, and The Korea Herald from South Korea, who are members of the Asia News Network (ANN).
Active participation of media and press agencies was sought by an all-in-one voice.
The convention was attended by the journalists and representatives from ministries and the business communities from across Asia. The speakers included Tăng Thế Cường, General Director of Climate Change Department (CCD) under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE), on behalf of the Minister of MONRE Trần Hồng Hà; Dr. Harald Link, Chairman of B Grimm Power Thailand; Mr. Hideki Minamikawa, President of Japan Environmental Sanitation Center; Mr. Frank Phuan, Business CEO of Sunseap Energy based in Singapore; Mr. Anil Sood, President of Chetna in India; and Mr. Phan Tấn Cảnh, Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of Ninh Thuận Province, Việt Nam.