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Shaping Asia’s Energy Future

CLEAN WATER, sanitation, healthcare, transport, lighting, cooking, heating–these are energy driven elements essential to human wellbeing and a country’s economic activity and social development – yet not accessible to the world’s energy poor, the majority who are living in Asia and the Pacific.

Today, more than 700 million people in the region have no access to electricity.

With the threats of climate change in the picture, world leaders and international organisations have recognised the need to ensure access to energy for all, in addition to curbing the ill-effects of widespread environmental dangers.

Environmental deterioration due to pollution, deforestation, and land degradation has been increasing in the wake of industrial revolution and rapid urbanisation growth in developing nations.

This is exacerbated by a dependence on fossil fuels, which has become the linchpin of economic growth in these countries in the past decade. Asia, the region with the highest rate of greenhouse gas emissions, has potential to improve prospects and quality of life for millions of people. Governments in the region have recognised near-future implications of climate change and expressed stronger political will to reappraise their approach by implementing sustainable and more secure energy policies; in addition to the use of renewable energy from clean energy sources that have a lower environmental impact and are almost infinite in supply.

Promote community participation towards renewable energy: Now, it is time for countries, organisations, and corporations to expedite the development process towards a sustainable future with renewable energy sources.

Further to providing clean and sustainable energy solutions for communities, we believe in promoting community participation, and support the notion that significant effort is required in strengthening local capacity to manage and service energy access solutions, especially for those living in remote areas. ADB found that most of the successful case studies shared a common thread—communities reacted positively to renewable energy systems with very high payback rates, while local households or village leaders even operated the technology themselves [see footnote 2].

One such success story is a Government-funded project in Indonesia: In 2016, Schneider Electric worked with Indonesia’s Directorate General of Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation (EBTKE) and other government partners to provide over 250 villages and 37,500 households with electricity, through 100 per cent renewables. Not only does this eliminate their dependency on diesel – a highly polluting source of energy – the off-grid solar and battery storage systems allow them access to energy around the clock, while containing costs.

Access to energy starts with collaboration: The world has established that energy is focal to shaping a sustainable and equitable future, as well as combat poverty and drive human development. Schneider Electric’s commitment to promote sustainable development and provide safe and clean access to energy is in its DNA. Together with our employees and sponsors from our partners and customers from Asia Pacific, we have contributed to providing over 5 million people with access to energy in rural communities in the past seven years.

And it does not stop there—our goal is to reach 50 million people within the next 10 years.

By working with communities, governments, and corporations, we have the power to bring safety and security to people, improving productivity and living standards whilst lessening reliance on fossil fuels for the benefit of our environment.

Now more than ever, we need to work together to empower these communities with access to safe, reliable, efficient, and sustainable energy, as well as training, that will foster safer and cleaner living environments.

Footnote 1/ Southeast Asia Energy Outlook 2015, World Energy Outlook Special Report. OECD/IEA, 2015.

Footnote 2/ Energy Access and Energy Security in Asia and the Pacific, ADB Economics Working Paper Series. Asian Development Bank, December 2013.

Contributed by TOMMY LEONG, President, East Asia and Japan at Schneider Electric

 

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