The Top 5: Game-changing Renewable Energy Projects In Southeast Asia

Highlights :

  • The renewable energy projects to watch out for in Southeast Asia are: Indonesia – Singapore 3.5 GW Solar PV Mega Project, La Gan Offshore Wind Farm, Terra Solar Project, and the Geothermal-based Green Hydrogen Facility of Indonesia

The countries making up the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) are the world’s fourth-largest energy consumer as a group. Its actions in the renewable realm are vitally important if the world wants to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 – the Paris agreement target. The countries in the region are exploring renewable technology to reduce their emissions with some of the most important renewable energy projects being planned that have the potential to become the game-changers for the region’s transition to clean energy.

As per the WEF, ASEAN’s current dependence on fossil fuels is high at 83 per cent of its energy mix. The region’s energy demand is only going to increase further, considering that planning some of the biggest renewable energy projects becomes crucial to feed this burgeoning demand.

Fortunately, many of ASEAN’s 10 member states show a strong commitment to achieving net zero by 2050. Others include Indonesia which has set a target of 2060, while the Philippines aims to meet half of its energy demand from renewables by 2040. Policies of various countries are supporting renewable growth with as many as four Southeast Asian Countries – Philippines (27), Vietnam (36), Indonesia (39), and Thailand (40) – being featured in RECAI’s list of 40 most attractive countries for renewable investments.

Many renewable energy projects have already been established, while many milestone projects are also being planned. We look at some of the key renewable energy projects planned in Southeast Asia.

#1 Indonesia – Singapore 3.5 GW Solar PV Mega Project

Capacity – 3.5 GW

Anantara is developing a 3.5 GW solar PV mega project, one of the largest renewable energy projects in Southeast Asia, in the Riau Archipelago in Indonesia, located in the Indonesia-Malaysia-Singapore Growth Triangle (IMS-GT). Anantara is a joint venture between ib vogt Singapore Pte Ltd (ib vogt), a subsidiary of German solar energy company ib vogt GmbH, and Quantum Power Asia Pte Ltd (Quantum). The firm committed to investing up to almost $6 billion in the project which will have up to 12 GWh of energy storage capacity.

The multibillion-dollar solar project is also added by the government of Indonesia to the docket of national priority projects. On completion, the project could power Singapore with clean energy. Indonesia has committed to reducing emissions by 31.9 per cent by 2030 under plans submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in September 2022. The analysts argue that the project will catalyze a domestic solar manufacturing industry.

#2 La Gan Offshore Wind Farm

Capacity – 3.5 GW

Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) Corporation, along with Asiapetro and Novasia, is currently developing the La Gan offshore wind farm to the tune of US$10.5 billion with an estimated capacity of nearly 3.5 GW in the coastal province of Binh Thuan, Vietnam.

La Gan offshore wind project is planned to be built in two phases. The first 500-600 MW is scheduled to be commissioned in the late 2020s due to the delayed approval of Power Development Plan 8 in Vietnam. The remaining 3,000 MW is likely to be added one or two years after that. The project is being developed on approximately 600 square kilometres of area. The wind farm is estimated to power more than 7 million households on completion. The project will become the largest wind energy project in Southeast Asia and also one of the largest renewable energy projects in the world.

#3 Terra Solar Project

Capacity – 2.5 GW

Billionaire Enrique Razon Jr’s Prime Infrastructure Holdings deepened its interest in the renewable sector when, in June last year, the firm unveiled its plans to build the world’s “largest” solar power facility in the Philippines. The solar farm will generate 2.5 GW – more than India’s 2.25 GW Bhadla Solar Park and China’s 2.2 GW Huanghe Hydropower Hainan Solar Park. The facility will also have a mega battery with about 4-4.5 GWh of electricity storage capacity.

The project will be undertaken by Terra Solar Philippines (Terra Solar), a unit of Terra Renewables Holdings, Inc., which is a renewable power subsidiary under Prime Infra’s control and in partnership with Solar Philippines Power Project Holdings, Inc. The facility will feed 850 MW to Manila Electric Company (MERALCO).

The project will be a game-changer both in terms of capacity addition and an inspiration for its renewable push as the Southeast Asian country aims to increase the share of renewables in the power mix to 35 per cent by 2030 and 50 per cent by 2040, up from 21 per cent of total capacity in 2020, as per Philippines’ National Renewable Energy Program (NREP) 2020-2040.

#4 Monsoon Wind Power Project

Capacity – 600 MW

The importance of the Monsoon Wind Power Project can be understood by the fact that the first wind power project in Lao PDR will also be the largest in Southeast Asia, and also the first cross-border in Asia. Thai renewable energy company Impact Energy Asia Development Limited (IEAD) and Envision Group partnered in building the 600 MW Wind energy project in Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR).

The wind project will be located in the Sekong and Attapeu provinces in Southern Lao PDR, where Envision plans to supply 133 units of EN-171 wind turbines with a power rating of 4.51 MW. The project is expected to begin commercial operation in 2025 and the electricity generated is expected to be delivered to Central Vietnam through the project’s dedicated 500-kilovolt transmission line.

#5 Geothermal-based Green Hydrogen Facility

Capacity – Min. 40,000 tonnes p.a. (may scale up to 80,000-160,000 tonnes p.a.)

While the project is still under awaits investigation of feasibility, the importance it holds calls for mention. American Chevron New Energies, Indonesian oil company Pertamina, and Keppel Corporation, a government-affiliated Singapore conglomerate, signed a Joint Study Agreement (JSA) to explore the feasibility of developing a green hydrogen facility, with a capacity of at least 40,000 tonnes per annum, powered by 250-400 MW of geothermal energy in the initial phase. Indonesia is estimated to have roughly 40 per cent of the world’s reserves of geothermal energy resources.

The project, if comes to fruition will be a trendsetter for Green Hydrogen in the Southeast Asia region. The green hydrogen facility may also have the potential to scale up to 80,000-160,000 tonnes per annum, depending on the availability of geothermal energy as well as market demands. This would make it one of the largest renewable energy projects in the region.

The facility can be a milestone for the nation that targets net-zero emissions by 2060. As per one report, Indonesia has the potential to become an international producer and bunkering hub for scalable zero-emission fuels (SZEF), such as green hydrogen and green ammonia. Thus, it is not wrong to expect Green Hydrogen to be an important lower-carbon fuel as a part of the country’s roadmap to carbon neutrality, and this facility may just be a turning point for the country.

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Junaid Shah

Junaid holds a Master of Engineering degree in Construction & Management. Being a civil engineering postgraduate and using his technical prowess, he has channeled his passion for writing in the environmental niche.