The 10 booming economies of Southeast Asia are rapidly emerging as energy-consuming giants. However as indigenous fuel production dwindles and competition for resources mounts, they all face a number of energy uncertainties.
Consensus is that the focus of world energy demand has shifted away from the U.S. and Europe to Asia, driven by the soaring economies of the 10 countries that make up the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), along with China and India.
- Coal giant, Indonesia – not the biggest producer but it is the largest exporter of thermal coal globally – to almost double output by 2035.
- East Kalimantan produces two thirds of Indonesia coal output
- Indonesia produces 44% of its electricity from coal
- Indonesia is developing significant plans to expand its generation capacity and much of this will be based on its extensive domestic coal resources.
- The five largest coal importers are all Asian – Japan, China, S Korea, India & Taiwan.
- The IEA predicts that Australia will surpass Indonesia as the world’s largest thermal coal exporter again by 2020, regaining a position it gave up in 2006.
- Malaysia buys 68%of its coal for electricity generation from Indonesia and 17% from Australia
- With some 70 gigawatts of new coal-fired power stations to be opened across Asia in the next five years, requiring another 150 million to 180 million tonnes of coal a year the region is set for a supply crunch!
South-east Asian coal demand is set to triple in the next 25 years.
- Coal will replace natural gas as the dominant fuel for producing electricity in Southeast Asia as the region almost doubles its energy consumption in the next two decades, according to the IEA.
- The 10 members of ASEAN, with energy demand growing at more than twice the global average, will get 49% of their power from coal by 2035, up from 31% in 2011.
There’s a big push to boost coal in the energy sector instead of natural gas across Southeast Asia.
- lack of gas resources
- coal-fired power offers the cheapest and most reliable alternative to all other energy sources
- cost to run coal is still relatively lower than other resources
- Fukushima nuclear disaster of 2011 made countries rethink the nuclear alternative, some have dropped their nuclear power concepts
South-east Asia’s embrace of coal comes with a geopolitical twist - As Western financial institutions such as the World Bank and European and American development banks walk away from funding coal, the IEA predicts that Chinese-led institutions such as the recently formed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank will step into the breach to help south-east Asia meet the higher cost of low-emission coal technology.
On their own, China, India, Indonesia and Vietnam account for three-quarters of new coal-fired power plants expected to be built around the world in the next five years. In India alone, about 300 million people live without access to electricity.