By 2050, the Southeast Asian region is estimated to be up to 30 percent less prosperous due to the effects of global warming and extreme weather. However, increasing the region's renewable energy production capacity has the potential to provide Southeast Asian countries with opportunities to create new jobs and meet growing energy demand while significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
This is the finding of a recent study released at the ASEAN Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting organized by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Bloomberg Philanthropies, the ClimateWorks Foundation, and Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL).
Advances in Southeast Asia's solar photovoltaic (PV), battery, and electric two-wheeler industries are unlocking potential revenues of between $90 billion and $100 billion by 2030. In addition, there is significant potential to create around 6 million jobs in the renewable energy sector by 2050.
In a recent report entitled "Renewable Energy Manufacturing: Opportunities for Southeast Asia," explains how supporting the growth of the region's clean energy manufacturing sector can help countries in the region unlock huge economic potential while mitigating the effects of climate change.
Realizing this opportunity will depend on policies tailored to each country in the region. These include stimulating domestic demand for renewable energy, ensuring cost competitiveness, improving the business climate, and expanding access to export markets. Regional cooperation also has an important role to play in providing further support through increased trade among ASEAN countries.
This report outlines the vision and potential achievements that Southeast Asia can realize in pursuit of several goals. First, in terms of a more sustainable future, there are ambitions that the region can pursue. One is to increase solar module production capacity from 70 GW to the 125-150 GW range by 2030.
In addition, the region is seeking to develop the battery manufacturing value chain regionally, with the goal of increasing demand at both the national and regional levels. Southeast Asia also aims to become a regional and global export hub for battery cell production, with a target of 140-180 gigawatt hours (GWh) by 2030.
Another measure under consideration is to increase electric two-wheeler (E2W) assembly capacity in the region. From a production range of 1.4 to 1.6 million units per year, the region aims to shift production to reach around 4 million units by 2030. All of these efforts are aimed at achieving sustainable growth and making a greater contribution to economies of scale and the environment in Southeast Asia.
The report also highlights how Southeast Asia can build on its strong history of regional cooperation to increase competitiveness in the renewable energy industry and achieve net-zero goals.
This announcement follows a collaboration launched earlier this year between the African Climate Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, ClimateWorks Foundation, and Sustainable Energy for All.
With these findings, South Asia's prospects for a sustainable future are brightening. With comprehensive policy, technical, and financial support, the sector has a strategic role to play in helping developing countries in the region move away from dependence on coal-based energy sources.
This will not only have a positive impact on the environment through reduced carbon emissions, but will also enhance the competitiveness of local industries, create new jobs, and stimulate long-term economic growth. This transition not only paves the way for a more sustainable future, but also creates opportunities for inclusive progress in the region.