Asia’s Energy Revolution
How can utilities cut blackouts during disasters? How can governments ensure reliable electricity access in even the most remote regions? And how can countries secure the future of their energy resources while tackling climate change?
Energy pioneers from across the region are tackling and thinking about these challenges every day. We bring to you a roundup of case studies, ideas and experiments from utilities and governments across Asia.
Asia’s Energy Revolution
Staff at its state-owned utility are using virtual reality to train for disaster response. These simulations will equip them to act quickly in the aftermath of typhoons which frequently rip through the island and damage infrastructure. Taiwan Power is also setting up microgrids in remote villages which could get disconnected from the main grid for days during typhoons.
Energy security is a major concern. It is largely dependent on coal plants with modest targets for renewables. The government projects that demand for coal will more than double by 2030. It aims to have 10% of energy coming from renewables by 2030, requiring an investment of US$10bn a year.
Trash could also hold the answer to Vietnam’s energy problem. Hanoi has built its first power plant to convert waste to energy with investment from the Japanese government. Figures show that 90 percent of the country’s waste could be reduced by incineration to produce energy.
Solar microgrids have kicked off a decentralised energy revolution. 40% of households are not connected to the main grid. Instead, villages are getting access to electricity from smaller power plants that are quicker to build and easier to expand.
Kansai Electric Power Company is trialling a blockchain platform for residents to buy and sell solar power. This model could serve as an alternative to the fixed solar tariffs set by the Japanese Government. It plans to phase this out for a more competitive bidding system in 2020.
It plans to predict energy demand to determine how supply should be distributed across national grids and use weather data to forecast solar power generation. Separately, the government has invested over $60bn over the last decade in electric vehicles with the hope to cut oil imports. It plans to invest the same amount over the next decade.
The government has set an ambitious target for renewable energy – 20 percent by 2025, up from 2 percent now. Malaysia will need a more reliable and resilient grid to bring renewables into the mix. Its state utility plans to spend US$4.5bn to expand and improve the grid with technology. It will have installed 1.5 million smart meters by the end of next year.
This country wants to become Southeast Asia’s “energy trading hub”. It is one of the leaders in the region in growing solar power capabilities. Its solar capacity increased tenfold in five years and it wants to double its total capacity for renewables by 2037.
It will need to modernise its grid to adapt to the fluctuations from renewable energy, the electricity regulatory agency has said. Electric vehicles will also have a big impact on this infrastructure. One of Thailand’s major utilities is trialling to use data from the grid and meters to predict outages.
A bill to promote microgrids will improve access in regions that don’t receive reliable supply from the main grid. It will also cut red tape to secure permits and contracts to build microgrids. A new law signed in March mandating the government to issue digital permits for power plants.
Its government has set ambitious targets to cut carbon emissions by 2030. It plans to phase out coal plants and bring in more non-fossil fuel resources. It has launched a programme to pay residents and businesses to produce their own solar and wind power, and sell this back to the main grid at higher tariffs.