RE is ideal to address the high demand for energy security
The renewable energy (RE) market in all countries in Southeast Asia is riding high on government support in the form of concrete policies regarding targets and incentives for most RE technologies. The clear policy framework is encouraging RE adoption at the grass-root level. This is attracting investments from RE-focused North American and European companies, including OEM suppliers, engineering, procurement, construction (EPC) developers, consultants and carbon-based traders.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Southeast Asia Renewable Energy Market, finds that the market had an estimated annual CAPEX addition of US$3.15 billion in 2013 and this is expected to reach US$3.31 billion in 2018.
Governments are encouraging domestic investments in renewable power generation sites as well as in RE equipment manufacture, with the intention of achieving grid parity through affordable RE. This heavy involvement of the government has ensured that nearly 70 percent of the RE market growth is dependent on governmental policies. The high installation cost of some RE technologies have made it necessary to have policies for tax benefits, rebates, feed-in-tariff schemes, and other funding programs. Any withdrawal of such policies significantly limits market expansion.
“Consequently, participants are attempting to achieve grid parity without government subsidies and grants and instead, are sourcing low-cost equipment and having leaner operations,” said Frost & Sullivan Energy & Environmental Industry Analyst Vishal Narain T. “The timing and methods of phasing out subsidies are critical for creating a vibrant, cost-competitive market.”
Another issue that market participants need to contend with is the use of outdated and substandard electrical systems that result in poorly developed transmission and distribution infrastructure. This is especially relevant in regions that are under-developed or are away from urban centers. Lobbyists are looking to mitigate this shortcoming by obtaining better grid facilities and provisions for modern smart grids.
“Yet, as some RE technologies are still perceived to be expensive in newer markets, governmental support would go a long way in promoting the uptake of RE,” noted Narain. “As long as subsidies remain robust and predictable, investors’ confidence can be sustained, especially since there is a definitive return on investment.”
Importantly, most RE sources do not involve fuel costs, geo-political risks or supply dependence on imported fuels. Conventional fuels, on the other hand, exhibit high price volatility that has a direct impact on electricity costs.
The long-term constraints in getting coal, combined with emission reduction targets, have strengthened the business case for RE. It not only results in energy self-sufficiency but also enhances national security.
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