Since its earliest infections started cropping up in Wuhan, China, December last year, the COVID-19 coronavirus has been expanding towards approximately 4 million confirmed cases globally. In ASEAN region, based on the data from the World Health Organization (WHO), the confirmed cases have reached almost 300,000 as of early August 2020, which dominantly occurred in Indonesia, Philippines, and Singapore. Most countries, including the ASEAN Member States, have enacted containment measures in order to control and mitigate the spread of the coronavirus particularly after it was officially announced as a pandemic by WHO on March 11, 2020.
Energy demand across Asia is surging and expected to grow by two-thirds by 2040, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency. At the same time, more than 65 million people mostly in Southeast Asia are without adequate or reliable access to electricity.
How will Southeast Asia’s electric utility market evolve as it emerges from the fall out and impact of COVID-19 on the global economy? Already facing what was predicted as moderate GDP growth rates and a slowdown in the growth of demand for electricity, the region could also be coping with increased pressure to lower electricity rates and sustained pressure to broaden the energy mix, transitioning to cleaner forms of generation.
Offshore wind has truly spread around the world in recent years, with Asian markets such as Japan taking a prominent role by rapidly developing their offshore capabilities. International investors and developers are starting to get involved in Japanese offshore wind, but to capitalize on opportunities in this growing market, they must show that they can work with domestic partners, leverage current Japanese partnerships from shared projects in other regions – in addition to demonstrating their experience.
Despite positive steps towards more efficient practice, total shareholder return (TSR) in oil and gas has consistently underperformed that of other industries over the last five years according to analysis undertaken by Boston Consulting Group (BCG).
The rapid drop in the cost of renewable energy is reshaping the world’s energy systems. Part and parcel of this shift, a new landscape is emerging among finance and power companies. Southeast Asian conglomerates such as Ayala are at the forefront.
When I arrived in Singapore to look into the growth opportunities in the energy landscape in the Asian Region, I was aware of some of the well-trodden discussions on the challenges that this region faces: “Asia will continue to lag behind Europe and the US in embracing newer forms of energy, especially clean energy”; “policy bottlenecks will make energy transition painfully slow and dependence on oil and gas inevitable.”
Almost 300 years since the discovery of electricity, 65 million of Southeast Asia’s population still goes without access to the electrical grid. At nightfall, millions continue to burn firewood to heat their homes and light up the darkness. The lack of energy presents a barrier to the region, holding back progress on many levels such as food security, health, education, work and poverty reduction. Yet the next frontier in Southeast Asia’s efforts to sustainably and efficiently power its communities – rural and urban – is already within reach: lithium-ion batteries.
The world has woken up to the vast potential of renewables with nations across the globe ramping up their efforts to switch to renewable fuel sources to reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change. In fact, two-thirds of the world’s new generation capacity in 2018 came from renewables, with solar energy continuing to be the fastest growing renewable.
Taiwan is undoubtedly one of Asia's most exciting jurisdictions for offshore wind development right now. A well-regulated framework coupled with cost-reflective tariffs has allowed the island to attract some of the biggest names in the offshore wind sector.
Taiwan's ambitious offshore wind power programme is now well known. However, what lies in the road ahead? What are the issues that have arisen so far? Where will the challenges be for the nascent industry? In this first of a two-part series, John Yeap, James Harris and Nick Wang, energy and finance lawyers with Pinsent Masons recounts where we are currently in the development of Taiwan's offshore wind.