Over the past two decades, the ASEAN region has experienced rapid and uncontrolled urbanization – with the five largest ASEAN economies – Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines – reaching an urbanization level of 46% in 2012 and expecting to see a further 25% growth by 2050.106
Alongside increased urbanization and population growth, the region has seen a 2.5% increase in energy demand by since 1990. This trend is expected to continue, with the IEA projecting a further increase of 80% up to 2035.107 Increases in urbanization can present a number of challenges across the energy system with higher, concentrated energy demand adding stress to the supply infrastructure, and emissions from increased vehicle ownership and traffic congestion. Motor vehicles in Bangkok, Thailand, increased from 600,000 in 1980 to 6.8 million in 2013,108 largely due to inadequate public transport and under-regulated vehicle standards.
These challenges are putting pressure on ASEAN cities to address urban pollution and congestion, and to find new solutions to manage energy supply and demand. A number of technology and policy solutions are available to mitigate these challenges – four potential solutions are explored below.
- Smart grid: Smart metering enables the transfer of information in two-way communication between consumers and the grid; implementing this type of technology can help energy providers understand demand patterns and become more efficient in balancing supply and demand, and can empower users to be more efficient with their energy consumption. A number of smart grid implementations are using variable pricing rates based on the load of the grid, offering consumers lower rates for energy used at times when there is more capacity in the grid. In 2009, the Singapore Energy Market Authority launched a smart metering pilot which provided users with information on variable electricity tariffs; in a previous Singapore pilot, this resulted in a 10% reduction in consumption at peak times, and an overall 2% reduction in energy consumption. 109
An interesting technology in smart metering is vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology which allows the bi-directional transfer of power between plug-in electric vehicles and buildings. A fully electric car can draw or produce up to 19 kW, the average power need for 13 US houses.110 The technology was initially developed in the aftermath of the March 2011 tsunami in Japan which caused power shortages and rolling blackouts in the country. When combined to smart metering technology and varying electricity pricing based on load capacity of the grid, the technology has the broader application of helping consumers reduce energy costs.
- Maximize economies of scale: Urban environments can offer energy saving opportunities enabled by the higher population density and economies of scale. A clear example of this is that urban environments can take advantage of public transportation to replace personal vehicles. The development of effective public transport can support cities in reducing congestion by providing a common transportation mode – for this to be effective, public transport must extend to reach outer-city populations, as well as be exempt from congestion to offer a valid alternative to private transportation. Cities such as Bangkok have developed above-ground metro transportation. The City of Shanghai invested nearly 3% of its GDP between 1999-2009 to develop a transportation infrastructure; over 40% was dedicated to the development of the Shanghai Metro, which now carries 8 million passengers a day, spans 420 km and covers over 80% of the city’s built-up area.111 As demonstrated by the Shanghai Metro, developing a transportation network which extends to provide service to the wider urban settlement can be capital intensive, and therefore challenging to implement.
- Smart traffic control: Data from in-vehicle telematics or road sensors can help cities understand and manage the flow of traffic in real time, providing opportunities to reduce emissions and fuel consumption by redirecting traffic through less congested routes. Although a number of pilots using smart traffic technologies are underway, no widespread implementation of the technology exists to date. However, other measures to reduce congestion from private vehicles exist in the form of financial disincentives for vehicle ownership use and incentives for investment into cleaner transportation. For example, Singapore has established a congestion charge scheme which uses variable real time pricing to charge road users at peak congestion times. Additionally, Singapore has imposed quotas for new vehicles, and high vehicle registration rates to mitigate the rise in the number of vehicles on the road. Incentives and emission standards to promote new, more efficient vehicle technologies can also play a role in reducing urban pollution. In Sweden, fiscal and financial incentives for the purchase of flexible fuel vehicles, as well as regulation to impose the sale of biofuels for larger fuel retailers, have led to a 12% reduction in city pollution.112
- Big data: Collecting relevant information on urban activity from, for example, mobile devices, smart grid infrastructure and in-vehicle telematics can support governments and service providers to better understand patterns of behaviour and consumption, including understanding the expansion of the urban environment and provide opportunities to make long-term informed plans for public services.
Union Minister U Zay Yar Aung
Minister of Energy,
Union Minister U Zay Yar Aung
Minister of Energy,
External Perspective: Pathway to an ASEAN Integrated Energy System
ASEAN is one of the fastest growing economic regions in the world and has a fast rising energy demand driven by economic and demographic growth. Furthermore, ASEAN has been demonstrating a sharp rebound from the global economic crisis.
In 2010, the region’s real GDP grew above the world average, with some countries even recording two-digit economic growth. Total GDP of the region in 2010 was US$ 1,850 (at current prices), having grown by 7.4% from the previous year, and the total population of ASEAN reached 598.5 million in 2010, 1.3% more than the previous year.
The region’s economic and population growth have resulted in a consequential increase in final energy consumption. With the assumed GDP growth rate of 5.2% per annum from 2007 to 2030,113 this growth is significantly higher than the world’s average growth rate of 1.4% per year in primary energy demand over 2008-2035.114
In view of the high economic growth and need of energy supply, the challenge to ensure a secure supply of energy is an overriding concern for ASEAN. Energy is crucial to the transformation of ASEAN into a stable, secure, prosperous, competitive and resilient ASEAN Economic Community in 2015.
In this regard, ASEAN developed The ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation (APAEC) 2010-2015 under the theme “Bringing Policies to Actions: Towards a Cleaner, More Efficient and Sustainable ASEAN Energy Community”.
It covers the energy component of the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint 2015, to ensure a secure and reliable energy supply for the region through, among others, collaborative partnerships in the ASEAN Power Grid (APG) and Trans-ASEAN Gas Pipeline (TAGP), the promotion of cleaner coal use, energy efficiency and conservation, renewable energy and nuclear energy. APG and TAGP are regional strategies for energy security aimed at establishing cooperation to connect electricity and natural gas within and throughout ASEAN.
The establishment of the ASEAN power grids and gas pipelines would be necessary to minimize the unnecessary cost for the energy infrastructure, and to collaborate in addressing regulatory issues within the governments and regulators. Additionally, frameworks, government support and business models need to be aligned when the time comes to transport electricity and gas in the most economical and efficient manner. Being proactive in this space is of great importance for the region to understand the key success factors required for market readiness.
Coordinated by the ASEAN Council on Petroleum, or ASCOPE, TAGP aims to develop a regional Trans-ASEAN Gas Pipeline grid by 2020, by linking the existing and planned gas pipeline networks of the ASEAN member states.
ASEAN implement to conduct of EE&C competition of buildings, capacity building activities, Renewable Energy development, Regional Energy Policy and Planning and Civilian Nuclear Energy development.
The region is heading towards ASEAN connectivity by 2015, with continuous strong commitment from ASEAN member countries to cooperate and collectively pursue initiatives towards realizing the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015.
Myanmar has returned to the global stage with a series of political reforms after years of economic sanctions. With better international relations, the country has seen emerging economic opportunities, and a greater number of social, cultural and economic exchanges are the profits.
Myanmar’s government is working to change the face of the country, and internal peace is a necessity. Stability is the dignity of the nation and boosts the country’s reputation. With closer ties with world powers, the entire population should respect laws and help ensure the stability.
Myanmar will assume the ASEAN chairmanship in 2014, which creates a great environment to develop closer connectivity, especially economic and trade opportunities. The country will also see a larger amount of foreign investments.
Myanmar will take concrete steps to carry out the remaining tasks of the ASEAN Community Roadmap together with ASEAN member countries, while striving to further strengthen the ASEAN Community.
During its ASEAN chairmanship, Myanmar will try to continue and maintain the traditions and unity of the association. The motto for 2014 is “Moving Forward in Unity, to a Peaceful and Prosperous Community”. Myanmar is attaching great importance to the chairmanship, as it is the first time the country holds the position since becoming an ASEAN member, and has pledged to successfully perform the duty.
Myanmar will also try to maintain the ASEAN centrality. Myanmar will be working hard as a responsible member nation, and while chairing the ASEAN in 2014, Myanmar will be able to successfully take on the duties with the help of member and dialogue partner countries.