The 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) (Figure 1) comprise around 10% of the world’s total population and collectively encompasses the 4th largest economy in the world. This region is continuously growing and expanding in population, which in turn would also mean that energy demand is expected to rise with the regions’ development. The ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation established a goal which states that 23% of the total primary energy demand of each country should be for renewable energy by 2025. This is to reduce carbon emissions and reliance on coal for electricity generation. The member states of the ASEAN have started to commit to this target and to implement them in each countries’ national plans. There is a great need for investments for renewable energy technology in the ASEAN region. The member states should be prepared to integrate renewable energy in their national power grid systems, as well as to meet energy security, sustainability, and accessibility goals in the foreseeable future .
Different laws, policies, regulations, and targets are enacted in each of the 10 member states for the incorporation of renewable energy in their countries’ national energy mix. In relation to this, the different countries have also legislated policies for energy efficiency and conservation.
The following initiatives and goals are set by the government of Brunei for the promotion of low-carbon emissions and renewable energy, as well as for the conservation of energy .
- They have set a target of at least 30% renewable energy in the total power generation mix by 2035. Public and private investments on renewable energy technology can significantly help reach this goal.
- Labelling and setting standards for electrical appliances are going to be implemented so that energy efficient appliances are going to used and sold to the residential sector.
- Implementation of EEC (Energy Efficiency and Conservation) guidelines to the commercial sector by the first quarter of 2021. This is currently mandatory to the government sector. This includes standards and labelling for electrical appliances, operation of electrical vehicles, and usage of LED lighting systems.
- Expand the energy management system to commercial buildings by 2021. Owners of buildings should be able to set up an energy management system in accordance with ISO 50001, such setting up equipment to monitor energy consumption (e.g., building automation system controllers and building energy management systems). Each building should also have an energy manager to oversee the energy consumption and efficiency of the building and to lead the achievement of sustainability goals.
- They introduced a residential tariff system for high energy consumption to discourage energy wastage due to financial disincentives.
- Brunei plans to increase the sales of electrical vehicles to 60% of the total annual sales by 2035. Not only the government and commercial sectors are encouraged to promote the use of electrical vehicles, but also the private sectors.
Cambodia has not set up a defined numerical goal for their renewable energy targets. The government should be able to plan on how much renewable energy should be consumed or produced in relation to their total energy mix. Aside from this problem, Cambodia have implemented some laws and regulations related to renewable energy utilization .
- The Cambodia Energy Policy aims to make energy supply accessible to the whole country at a reasonable and affordable price; to ensure energy source security; to develop sustainable and environmentally friendly energy sources; and to promote efficient energy use.
- The Electricity Law of 2001 covers all of the activities and concerns related to electricity supply and use.
- The National Policy on Rural Electrification by renewable energy aims to provide clean, reliable, safe, and affordable electricity to rural areas.
Indonesia has several regulations regarding the utilization of renewable energy . These are as follows:
- Law No. 30 of 2007 on Energy (Energy Law) and Government Regulation No. 79 of 2014 on National Energy Policy are the main regulations for the general issues concerning Indonesia’s energy.
- Regulations focusing on specific types of renewable energy are Law No. 17 of 2019 on Water Resources and Law No. 21 of 2014 on Geothermal Energy.
- Law No. 30 of 2009 on Electricity (Electricity Law), Government Regulation No. 14 of 2012 on Electricity Supply Business Activities, and MEMR Regulation No. 50 of 2017 on the Utilization of Renewable Energy Resources for the Production of Electricity (MEMR 50/2017) or MEMR Regulation No. 4 of 2020 (MEMR 4/2020) are the main legislations referred to regarding the terms of developing infrastructure for the generation, transmission, and distribution of energy throughout the country.
- On the other hand, the National Electricity General Plan or MEMR Decree No. 143K/20/MEM/2019 on the National General Plan of Electricity from 2019 until 2038 and the RUPTL contain essential guidelines on the current situation of the nation’s electricity network and future prospects and trends for electricity development.
The main laws and policies concerning energy and electricity in Laos are the following :
- The Electricity Law of 1997, which was amended in 2012, states the standards for the administration, production, distribution, transmission, and importation and exportation of electricity of the country.
- The main objection of the Power Sector Policy Statement of 2001 is to be able to provide affordable energy to everyone. Included in its objectives is to be able to promote hydropower development.
- The 8th National Socio-Economic Development Plan (NSEDP) 2016–20 pursues to focus the energy generation from hydropower, thermal electric power, and solar energy. Its main goal is to be able to produce energy sustainably.
- The Renewable Energy Development Strategy sets a goal of 30% renewable energy in the total energy share of the country and wants to achieve the replacement of 10% of the fuel used for transportation to biofuel by 2025.
- The Policy on Sustainable Hydropower Development contains guidelines for the management of hydropower investment projects and the spreading of awareness about hydropower energy. Additionally, this policy focuses on projects that has a larger than 15 MW generation capacity.
- The Power Development Plan is updated every 3 to 5 years. This reports the electricity demand and forecast and prospect project developments regarding energy of Laos.
Malaysia has some laws related to the usage of renewable energy . They are as follows:
- The Electricity Supply Act 1990 focuses on the regulation, supply, installation, and distribution of energy and electrical equipment throughout the country.
- The Malaysia Biofuels Industry Act 2007 establishes a mandate for blending palm oil biodiesel and petroleum diesel. This act also states the regulations for licensing the blending and storage process and transportation and export of palm oil biodiesel.
- The Renewable Energy Act 2011 creates a renewable energy feed-in tariff system and there are fixed tariff rates for energy generated from solar, biomass, biogas, and hydroelectric methods. The tariffs, depending on the kind of resource, lasts for a period of 16-21 years.
- The Sustainable Energy Development Authority Act 2011 is responsible for creating the Sustainable Energy Development Authority (SEDA) who oversees the operation and implementation of the feed-in tariff system for renewable energy stated from the Renewable Energy Act 2011.
On November 23, 2021, Malaysia launched the Green Energy Tariff (GET) Program to supply electricity generated from renewable energy sources to consumers who want to reduce their carbon footprint. Please see more details about the GET here.
Myanmar is currently drafting a law regarding renewable energy. The goal set in the law is that 8% of the total electricity should be obtained from renewable sources by 2021, then 12% by 2025. Currently, hydropower is the main renewable energy source for Myanmar. Solar and wind power would be the next targets in the future . The other existing laws and regulations for energy in general are the following :
- The goal of the Myanmar Energy Master Plan 2015 is to advance the renewable energy potential of rural areas which could put the renewable energy share to 15-20%. The plan prefers the energy mix of 57% hydropower, 30% coal, 8% natural gas, and 8% solar and wind power by 2030.
- The National Energy Policy was effective starting 2014 and its main purpose is to ensure energy security for the country, as well as affordable and reliable energy supply especially to rural areas. Green technology for the development and generation of clean energy is encourages in this policy.
Even though there are already existing laws regarding renewable energy in the Philippines, most of the electricity generated and used in the country is still dominated by fossil fuels, especially coal . Here are the laws and acts passed concerning renewable energy of the Philippines :
- RA9513 or the Renewable Energy Act of 2008 sets a minimum percentage of electricity generation from renewable sources for every electricity supplier and encourages to use and generate energy from renewable sources. A feed-in tariff was also introduced, and the act mandated the priority of all kinds of renewable energy connection, distribution, purchase, and transmission to the power grid. Additional incentives were also offered to businesses to further encourage the use of renewables.
- Biofuels Act (RA 9367) of 2007 states that it is mandatory to use biofuels in the fuel mix and that natural gas power plants are allowed to use neat diesel as an alternative fuel.
- Mini-hydroelectric Power Incentive Act (RA 7156) of 1991 incentivizes mini-hydroelectric power developers to minimize the country’s dependency on outside energy supply and to promote energy self-sufficiency.
Singapore heavily relies on fossil fuels for energy and has 4 offshore pipelines from Malaysia and Indonesia to meet their natural gas supply. Lack of land area on where to install renewable energy generators is the main problem in this country. Listed below are the 2 main laws regarding electricity and renewable energy :
- The Electricity Act 2001 governs the regulation, generation, transmission, supply, use, and licensing of electricity in the country.
- The Energy Conservation Act 2012 introduced the minimum requirements for the energy management of industries that use large quantities of energy. Companies that consume more than 15GWh of energy per year are the only ones affected by this act.
Additionally, it is planned in Singapore to start releasing standardized guidelines for the usage of renewable energy certificates (REC). The REC validates that the energy is derived from renewable sources. Each certificate indicates that 1 MWh of electricity was from renewables and has been delivered to the national power grid .
There are 3 main energy laws in Thailand that are related to the regulation of energy in this country :
- The 1992 National Energy Policy Act assigns the National Energy Policy Council and the Office of Energy Policy and Planning to be responsible for regulating and creating policies and plans for the country’s energy, including renewable energy.
- The 1992 Promotion of Energy Conservation Act aims to produce and use energy efficiently and economically by providing incentives to those who comply to the rules, and disincentives to those who fail to follow the regulations.
- The 1992 Energy Development and Promotion Act assigns the Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency to be the key state agency for the technical aspects of energy regulation, production, transmissions, and distribution.
Furthermore, Thailand is planning to develop more renewable energy power plants over the next 20 years according to the Alternation Energy Development Plan 2018, which was integrated into the Power Development Plan 2018 Rev. 1. The main goal is to increase the share of renewable energy to 30%, including imported hydropower, of the total electricity by 2037 .
Currently, Vietnam has not completed a national master plan for the development of renewable energy. Generally, Vietnam gives no special incentives for renewable energy projects. The following parts of Vietnamese legislation regarding renewable energy are listed below. Feed-in tariff rates, requirements, and specific regulations are included in each of the legislation .
- On wind energy: Decision No. 37/2011/QD-TTg (issued on 29 June 2011, and effective as of 20 August 2011), Decision No. 39/2018/QD-TTg (issued on 10 September 2018, and effective as of 1 November 2018), and Circular No. 02/2019/TT-BCT (issued on 15 January 2019, and effective as of 28 February 2019)
- On biomass power: Decision No. 24/2014/QD-TTg (issued on 24 March 2014, and effective as of 10 May 2014), Decision No. 08/2020/QD-TTg (issued on 5 March 2020, and effective as of 25 April 2020) (Decision No. 8), Circular No. 44/2015/TT-BCT (issued on 9 December 2015, and effective as of 25 January 2016) (Circular No. 44), and Circular No. 54/2018/TT-BCT (issued on 25 December 2018, and effective as of 18 February 2019)
- On solid-waste power: Decision No. 31/2014/QD-TTg (issued on 5 May 2014, and effective as of 20 June 2014) and Circular No. 32/2015/TT-BCT (issued on 8 October 2015, and effective as of 7 December 2015)
- On solar power: Decision No. 13/2020/QD-TTg (issued on 6 April 2020, and effective as of 22 May 2020) (Decision No. 13)
In the middle of-April 2021, the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) of Vietnam publicized the draft circular on pilot implementation of direct electricity trading between renewable power plants and users. Please see more details about the scheme here.
In general, the laws and regulations regarding renewable energy in the 10 member states of the ASEAN are at their infancy still. There are still a lot of revisions and implementations needed to be done to further improve the generation, distribution, and usage of renewable energy in these countries. Many of the regulations are vague and needs to be rewritten. Renewable energy technology is picking up slowly in the ASEAN region – this opens lots of opportunities for investors, locally and internationally. It would be a great idea to start projects in the ASEAN region as most of the member countries still heavily rely on fossil fuels for their source of electricity and energy, and they have renewable energy targets to reach in the near future.
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