Coal remains main source of energy in Southeast Asia
07:35 21/10/2019
Several of the 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have adopted clean-energy policies, and yet the use of coal continues to increase in the region.


Coal would remain a major fuel source in Southeast Asia for years to come(Photo: The Nation)

The energy multinational Wood Mackenzie said in a recent study that coal would remain a major fuel source in Southeast Asia for years to come, its use expected to peak only in 2027.

The Indonesian government has set a target of generating 23 percent of its power from renewable sources but has achieved only 12 percent thus far due to widespread dependence on coal.

Jacqualine Tao, a research associate at Wood Mackenzie, said the reality of rising power demand and affordability issues in the region means that coal’s capacity plateau will only be seen after 2030.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has stated that global demand for coal grew by 0.7 percent for the two years ending in 2018. It has estimated that, in the next 20 years, coal demand will continue to rise due to its affordability and availability.

Southeast Asian nations, India and other developing countries will be the centre of coal demand for the next 25 years, obtaining three-fourths of their energy from it, the IEA believes.

By 2040, the power generated from coal will have risen from the current 35 percent to 40 percent, while the proportion generated from natural gas drops from 30 to 45 percent, it has said.

Countries such as Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, and Pakistan will have to import coal-generated power from other nations, while the European Union, Japan, the Republic of Korea and China will need less.

However, Wood Mackenzie believes wind and solar power will eventually predominate in Southeast Asia, integrated with coal use to generate 35 percent of power by 2040.

Investment in wind and solar energy will increase by 23 percent between 2019 and 2050, for a combined value of 89 billion USD./.