Southeast Asia (SEA) is one of the fastest developing regions in the world, with energy demand projected to grow by 70% by 2040. Coal is the largest source of power in the region and plays an important role in current national energy strategies. With approximately 130 GW of coal-fired power plants in the pipeline, Southeast Asia is one of the last regions in the world still looking into deploying coal projects at a large scale. Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam (the key four countries in this program currently make up around 80% of the total energy share in the SEA region, about 72% of its GDP and 82% of its population. The future energy development of those countries will therefore have a major impact on the region’s ability to meet its development goals while ensuring clean, secure and affordable power supply.
The shares of wind and solar energy in the power sector in each country are still less than 4% despite their huge potential. The main barriers to their development are similar throughout the region: non-level playing fields, concerns over the security of supply and grid capacities, outdated energy planning methodologies, assumption metrics in pace with global trends, a lack of political support, and path dependencies. The cross-border integration of power systems in the region is also still developing slowly despite being on ASEAN’s agenda. In 2017, only 5.5 GW of interconnectors are effectively used for cross-border exchanges, far from the 27-30 GW envisaged. This slow integration is explained by the geographical size and diversity of the region, but also by institutional and regulatory challenges. The development of RE may favour a further expansion of cross-border integration; however, those challenges between countries will have to be addressed.
The Clean, Affordable and Secure Energy for South-East Asia (CASE) programme aims to increase ambition in power sector transformation and drive changes to affordable, secure, and clean energy. It focuses on the four main SEA countries in terms of energy demand and foresees regional interventions. Composed of a wide range of organisations and driven by strong regional cohesion, CASE will provide evidence-based solutions to decision-makers so they can address the challenges in designing and implementing energy system of the future. CASE will also support dialogue and coordination in the SEA power sector, provide technical and policy support, and facilitate dialogue around a new energy vision. Through these activities, CASE will directly contribute to the transition of the power sector towards an innovative, high efficiency, economically successful and environmentally friendly energy model for SEA.