What happened at ACEF 2019?

It was Monday afternoon 17 June in Manila when our Outreach & Communication Manager, Laura E. Williamson and Community Manager, Vibushree Hamirwasia presented the new Renewables 2019 Global Status Report in the Asian continent. It’s now been two weeks since our team coordinated the “Renewable Energy Transition: Is Asia Leading?” Deep Dive Workshop (DDW) on the first day of the Asian Clean Energy Forum (ACEF).  Main takeaways from this event were:

Renewable power has become mainstream, including in Asia. “All the progress in the power sector is related to policies. 135 countries have policies for renewables in the power sector, compared to 70 countries for transport regulatory policies”, open the panel discussion, Williamson. Regulatory frameworks have proven to be an accelerator for renewables uptake in the case of the power sector and can be the starting point for the energy transition for the other energy sectors.

However, in Asia, the conversation around renewables evolves around electricity and not end-use sectors such as transport, heating and cooling. This poses a challenge to meet regional and worldwide sustainable goals as well as to address the climate emergency. More ambitious targets are necessary to advance the energy transition to renewables and transform the energy system.

Vibhushree Hamirwasia, Laura Williamson, Glynda Bathan, Lathika Chandra Mouli, David Elzinga, Hongpeng Liu, Clotilde Rossi di Schio, Katarina Uherova-Hasbani. Source: REN21

Panelists from different backgrounds (ADB, CleanAir Asia, EnRupt, SEforALL, UNESCAP, Vertech Capital) discussed the complexity of the Asian region. Even if every country has its own priorities, the importance of energy on a daily basis underpins everything we do. “It should be a priority”, said one of the panelists about integrating renewables into the national and local level agenda.

Panelists and participants agreed that renewables provide real opportunities for initiating change. The challenge is getting people to talk to each other and changing mindsets. Discussion groups during the DDW began that process. Participants broke into small groups and brainstormed on opportunities/entry points for increasing renewable energy uptake. “By exchanging perspectives and experiences related to renewables we can learn from each other and provide the tools to accelerate the energy transition,” noted a participant.

Asia and the Pacific Renewable Energy Status Report present at ACEF

Fifty percent of the global population lives in Asia and the region is responsible for over 45% of global CO2 emissions. Asia and the Pacific, therefore, play a significant role in the global energy transition, which is why we also presented some initial finding from our upcoming first regional report: Asia and the Pacific Renewable Energy Status Report at ACEF.

Vibushree Hamirwasia presented what is happening with renewables in the power, cooking and heating sectors during “Achieving Universal Energy Access in the Asia Pacific Region” DDW.

Despite a region access rate of 91% to electricity, the quality of overall energy access is questionable. Many parts of the region are isolated, and connecting them to a national grid is nearly impossible – distributed renewable systems can play an important role in energy access”, stated Hamirwasia while giving some preliminary insights drawn from data collection process to date in the Asia-Pacific report.