Before the coronavirus pandemic halted energy operations, the transition to clean energy shaped up with policymakers and investors in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) spearheading these regulations. Renewable energy facilities were expanding considerably in the region, demonstrating the governments’ urge to greenhouse gas minimizes emissions, make electricity affordable, and promote this technology. However, the pandemic period slowed the construction activities because financial constraints forced the governments to switch the funds heading in this direction to other projects. The scale-up of the renewable energy potential and the recuperation of the pandemic’s economy have demanded the development of the five-year ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation (APAEC). The plan recommends the development of renewable energy capacity by the addition of 35 to 40 GW.
The countries pioneering this plan are Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia, which boast of 84% renewable energy capacity in the entire region. Vietnam is the head of this pack contributing 34% of this share. This trend is indicative of the government’s desire to achieve net-zero emissions in the set period to facilitate the exploration of other projects. The country has been aggressive in the fight against coal utilization to generate electricity to minimize carbon emissions by 15 percent before the end of this decade.
Vietnam will also be leading the development of renewable energy in the region by establishing the installation of projects that can produce more than 13 GW. Solar power and hydropower will facilitate the transition in the first half of this decade before the other renewable energy sources like wind and biopower can follow up. For this decade, the National Power Development Plan provides that onshore and offshore wind energy must account for not less than 50 GW of the electricity utilized in this region.
Other countries hit by the pandemic are Singapore, which, according to the Energy Market Authority (EMA), witnessed a reduction in solar photovoltaic technology installation by half the annual rate. The country went into shelter-in-place regulations to protect its citizens, forcing the new renewable energy systems linked to the grids to provide half the energy capacity they were generating. They did not have the engineers who were monitoring the systems effectively on site. Nevertheless, the country is set to rejuvenate its energy sector this year since the government is attentive to renewable energy infrastructure development. More projects are underway in the country to reinstate it to its financial position.