The Lancang-Mekong (LM) countries are discussing ways to overcome challenges and transform their energy system. At a hybrid workshop, participants reflected on the potential of clean energy and unpacked the way forward.
The energy sector of the LM region is facing many challenges, including a growing energy demand, the predominance of fossil fuels, and climate change impacts. It is projected that the demand for energy will continue to rise, driven by economic and population growth, rapid industrialization, and increased urbanization. By some estimates, it is expected to nearly triple between 2012 to 2025.
To meet these challenges, countries are looking into ways to increase the share of clean energy to achieve environment sustainability as well as secure energy supply Over the last few years, the LM region has slowly seen the rise of clean energy as a real and competitive option.
CHANGE OF SCENE
This has all become possible thanks to the decline in costs and improvements in technology. At the same time, with more policy support, clean energy opens up prospects for production and marketing of electricity.
A hybrid workshop on Regional Clean Energy Development, Application and Optimization in the Lancang-Mekong Region was organized on September 17, 2022 to leverage the positive experiences from clean energy development, application and optimization. More than 70 representatives from power supervision authorities, power utilities and academia in LM region as well as delegates from the ASEAN Center for Energy attended the workshop. Together they jointly deliberated on the opportunities and shared strategies to build back better in an era marked by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The workshop is a collaboration between Mekong Institute (MI) and China Southern Power Grid Co., Ltd. (CSG). It is the first activity under the 2nd phase of the CSG-MI Partnership 2022-2025, and is held in conjunction with the China-ASEAN Expo 2022.
THE FUTURE IS CLEAN ENERGY.
The highlight was a panel discussion moderated by Mr. Suriyan Vichitlekarn, MI Executive Director. Three questions were put forward:
- What are the positive experiences from clean energy development, application andoptimization (including power trading) in your country/the region?
- What are challenges and lessons learned that your country/the region is facing in terms of clean energy?
- What will be the collective recovery strategies for regional cooperation on clean energy in this era marked by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic?
After a round of sharing by the energy experts, a few takeaways can be unpacked. First and foremost, all LM countries are moving towards clean energy. To achieve this, each country will have to align policies while promoting concerted actions to simplify policies and processes, increase investment, and reduce technical constraints. Major contributing factors were also discussed, for instance, strong government support, enabling policy, integration and cooperation, and financial feasibility.
At the regional level, international or intergovernmental organizations also have a role to play, namely by regularly organizing policy forums to keep the dialogue going, provide capacity building programs and increase awareness and acceptance of these new technologies among the population. After the completion of the workshop, MI will produce a summarized report detailing key findings and action-oriented recommendations which will contribute to collective recovery efforts by leveraging the positive experience from the climate change adaptation and energy transition actions in the LM Region.