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ASEAN Grid Interconnectivity as the Start of Renewable Energy Security in the Region



Jakarta, 13 June 2023 – To reach energy security sustainably and to face challenges of global climate change, Indonesia’s chairmanship in 2023 needs to be a strong leader in the decarbonization efforts of the energy sector in Southeast Asia. region. Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR) views that Indonesia can further its regional cooperation and collaboration on innovation, technology, renewable energy research, and push for clearer and enticing policies to boost investments in the renewable energy sector.


As a region, ASEAN has committed to reach a 23% energy mix target in primary energy and 35% capacity of renewable energy installed by 2025. Furthermore, to expand the regional electricity trade , integrate the region’s power grid, and to strengthen the reliability of the power grid, ASEAN is currently building the ASEAN Power Grid (APG).


The Executive Director of the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR), Fabby Tumiwa, explains that the project to interconnect ASEAN’s grid through ASEAN Power Grid (APG) could be a starting point for ASEAN member states to boost renewable energy capacity in the electricity sector and shift their dependency to fossil fuels. Indonesian chairmanship in ASEAN 2023 with one of its main focus being Sustainable Energy Security has to be utilized to push ASEAN member states to focus on efforts to decarbonize their energy systems.


“Indonesia has the chance to lead ASEAN to transition their energy, amplifying the renewable energy mix, and to reduce fossil energy. Indonesia has given examples for other ASEAN member states to have a more ambitious target that aligns with the Paris Agreement. One of which is to push ASEAN member states to end CFPP operations before 2050 and to push agreements between ASEAN member states to build cell industries, solar modules, and energy storage (battery),” Fabby Tumiwa assessed.


ASEAN itself has a capacity of 7.645 MW on the existing interconnecting grid in the ASEAN Power Grid project, according to a presentation from the Sub Coordinator of the Electricity Program MEMR, Yeni Gusrini, in the IESR Webinar titled Toward a Decarbonized ASEAN. In the future, the interconnection grid will be added in capacity to around 19.000 – 22.000 MW and covers a wider area.


“ASEAN Power Grid contributes towards the economic development in ASEAN by helping fulfill energy demand in ASEAN and to develop regional industry player’s growth. On the first phase, the electricity grid in Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore has been connected through the Lao PDR, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore Power Integration Project (LTMS-PIP), which has been the pioneer of the power trade mechanism that has transmitted 100 MW from Laos to Singapore, utilizing the existing interconnection,” Yeni explicated.


IESR views that the development of an interconnection grid that accommodates the integration of renewable energy in Indonesia needs to be accelerated so that it aligns with the Paris Agreement to net zero emission (NZE) in 2050.


“Interconnection between the islands in Indonesia and between the countries in ASEAN is one of the enabling factors of renewable energy integration. The existence of this interconnection will help solve the problem of intermittency and to maximize renewable energy usage, so that if there’s an oversupply such as solar PV in the daylight built in another location, the electricity can be transmitted to another place. Before that, ASEAN member states have to keep refurbishing their renewable energy investment climate in their respective countries and regionally with a more interesting regulation framework,” explained Deon Arinaldo, Program Manager of Energy Transformation IESR.


Deon says, Indonesia is a country with the biggest economy and energy consumption rates in ASEAN, and has a massive energy resource. With ASEAN chairmanship this year and a supportive process and regulations for energy transition at the national level such as JETP and New and Renewable Energy Bill, this will make Indonesia an example and trigger the acceleration of ASEAN’s transformation process.


IESR believes that the decarbonization efforts are not limited to the government, but also involves the participation of various stakeholders, including private sectors, civil society, and international agencies. In this spirit of collaboration, Indonesia needs to invite all parties to join in the effort to tackle climate change and create a sustainable future for ASEAN.

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