Utilising synergies: green recovery and energy transition in Southeast Asia

The ‘Green Recovery and Energy Transition Academy in Southeast Asia’ promotes regional dialogue on the challenges and opportunities presented by the move to a green energy system. 

Over a period of six weeks, the IKI projects Clean, affordable and secure energy for Southeast Asia (CASE) and Strategic environment dialogues joined forces with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) to offer the training format for around 50 participants. The course was attended by trainees from Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. 

Southeast Asia is one of the most energy-intensive regions in the world, with rapid urbanisation and industrialisation having led to a sharp rise in greenhouse gas emissions. The Covid-19 pandemic has also deeply impacted economic growth in the region, thereby creating additional challenges to the achievement of climate change mitigation targets.

Analysts foresee energy demand continuing to grow in the period 2023 to 2052. Historically, the region has depended on fossil fuel use, with coal consumption more than doubling since 2010, for example. However, initial signs of a ‘clean energy transition’ have been observed in recent years, with countries in the region starting to deploy new technologies, including offshore wind power (Vietnam), floating solar energy farms (Indonesia) and utility-scale battery storage (Thailand).

Focus on Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam

The Academy therefore focused on Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, since these countries together account for around 80 percent of the region’s energy use as well as its overall population. The Academy concentrated on capacity building, as well as both stimulating and simplifying knowledge sharing between key interest groups from Southeast Asia. In addition, positive insights from existing initiatives in these countries were made use of in order to revisit opportunities for scaling in the context of the continuing Covid-19 pandemic. While the Academy maintained a strong peer learning focus on the one hand, it simultaneously allowed participants to engage in dialogue with international and regional experts, in order to discuss the challenges and opportunities for a social energy transition. 

Turning theory into practice

The global climate and environmental crisis shows that long-term economic growth is possible only if the natural limits of our planet are respected. To support green growth and the efforts being made by these Southeast Asian countries, the Academy has helped with capacity building and facilitating dialogue that is aimed at promoting a clean and integrative energy transition. Last but not least, a coaching mechanism was also used to offer participants the chance to put the knowledge and skills acquired while attending the Academy into practice. This was used to good effect in the concluding projects, which also included action plans and project proposals.

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