Posts tagged under energy security
US President Obama meets with Indonesia’s PM Yudhoyono, sign cooperative deals on various energy and climate projects
A tad hyperbolic about the country’s nuclear status, Napocor spokesman says international investors are interested to support industry’s growth
Southeast Asian countries already gearing up for the gas revolution; tight and shale gas formations to fuel LNG’s rise
German-based renewable energy expert says Malaysia would experience significant cost-overruns and delays if it pursues the nuclear path
Norway’s Renewable Energy Corporation (REC) opens S$2.5 billion plant in Singapore, marks country’s largest clean-tech investment
Indonesia’s national oil company PT Pertamina sets production target of 200,000 barrels of oil per day for 2011
France finances $100 million in 520-MW hydropower project in northwestern Vietnam
As Singapore mulls over whether it should go down the route of nuclear energy, Asian countries are leading the field in what some insiders have called a nuclear renaissance.
The process of restructuring the Philippine power sector had been on a stop-and-go mode in the earlier part of the decade – until breakthroughs in privatization were attained in the past two years.
The government has remained non-committal on whether to push through with the privatization of Mindanao’s major hydropower complexes as provided for in the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (Republic Act 9136), Mindanao Development Authority (Minda) Chair Luwalhati Antonino said.
The Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) is now set to start investing in generation facilities that will deliver at least 1,500 megawatts (MW) of power over the next five to six years, following the approval of its projects by the company’s board.
If you ask Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, Regional Vice President for Conservation International, what he thinks the world’s most pressing needs are, he might rhapsodize about the protection of 4 billion hectares of natural resources over the next 20 years. Deserts, tropical forests, temperate forests, freshwater ecosystems and mangroves – 4 billion hectares whatever way you cut it, and then the rehabilitation of degraded wastelands so they return to providing ecosystem services.
About 40 people gathered at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy for yesterday’s lunchtime seminar entitled “The Environmental Services Payment Program – A Success Story of Sustainable Development in Costa Rica.” Starting off by explaining how the financial/economic crises are only a symptom of broader, unsustainable patterns of consumption and production, Rodriguez referred to the global economy as a sick patient who ignores the doctor’s advice. “You cannot continue doing business as usual,” he intoned. “Economic growth has caused us to be unhealthy.” A few Worldmapper charts and several chuckles later (rescaling country size by the prevalence of fast food restaurants leaves the US bloated and Africa non-existent), he eventually shifted to the Central American context where the Ministers of Environment are all lovely and huggable people, but unfortunately carry no clout against the Ministers of Finance who have alternate plans.
On the back burner no more, improved cookstoves (ICs) in the last month have seen a resurgence in global attention. At the annual Clinton Global Initiative meeting held last month in New York, Hillary Clinton helped launch the “Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves,” a public-private partnership flush with $250 million to support the uptake of improved cookstoves across 100 million households.
The issue of ICs is so important because according to the International Energy Agency, 2.5 billion people use biomass for cooking and about 1.5 million people die prematurely each year from respiratory-related problems associated with incomplete, indoor combustion. Instead of using LPG canisters or piped natural gas to satisfy their cooking needs, the poor have to use alternative solutions. This could be in the form of firewood (see picture above, taken from fieldwork we conducted outside Ulaanbataar in July), coal, or dried animal dung. Several years back I spent a month with a family in Ladakh, posing as a migrant laborer but really just trying to learn more about organic, subsistence farming. At 3,000+m., it stays cold nearly the year round and even if you’re not using it for heating, you’re using the stove for cooking. The stove ran on a steady diet of dzo dung, a dzo being the byproduct of crossing a yak with a cow (and an incredibly unwieldy animal to boot), and the entire family suffered from eye redness/irritation as a result.
Filipino sugarcane farmers are opting to send harvests to sugar production where they’ll fetch more income than if the cane was converted to ethanol. Farmers and their politicians have been demanding the passage of a 20% ethanol tariff, previously set at 1%, which would stabilize the investment environment. Yet another example of consumers versus producers in the quest for grabbing social welfare.
Vietnam’s first foray into the wind turbine business took off last Friday with the inauguration of a $61 million factory that received support from General Electric. The plant will primarily produce 1.5MW turbines and various components.
Malaysia’s elusive feed-in tariff should be tabled “for first reading between the October and December session” of Parliament. If all fares well, it and the Renewable Energy Act as a whole would enter force before next June.
Would the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) say anything less? As the major power purchaser for Nam Theun 2, a 1075-MW hydropower plant in central Laos, any grievances associated with community relocation should be papered over. Laos will be hosting an inauguration in December, even though commercial electricity sales began in March.
Some of the top stories in energy security news across Southeast Asia:
- Malaysia’s PwC Taxation Services Senior Executive Director weighs in on the inadequacy of the country’s current green tax incentives to spur energy efficiency and renewable energy usage in the private sector
- As Filipinos debate how best to satisfy the country’s persistent energy supply problems, Senate President pushes for greater use of local lignite and coal deposits
- Draft fiscal measures pass the Thai cabinet that would support environmental conservation by taxing air, water pollution
- French EDF Trading considering up to six more clean development mechanism (CDM) projects in Thailand, would benefit from carbon credit tax revenue incentive
- Will the rhetoric of a Philippines smart grid move forward? Some very real reasons why that may not be the case, despite the anticipated benefits
- Minister of Trade and Industry in Singapore weighs in on the country’s energy ‘trilemma’ of striving for cost-competitiveness, energy security, and sustainability
The last round of climate change talks before the [not]much anticipated COP16 in Cancun is coming to a close in Tianjin. While nothing much was ever expected to arise from this session, save for preliminary work that might streamline negotiations later this year, those low expectations have been met. Jake Schmidt’s (Natural Resources Defense Council) latest blog posting shows optimism about a possible turn of events before Tianjin’s closing, but the State Department doesn’t seem to share the sentiment. Jonathan Pershing, the US’ lead negotiator for this round of talks, referred to Tianjin as a rehashing of all things Copenhagen, rather than working off the Accord as a starting point. From a developing country perspective, that’s sensible given the Accord’s numerous flaws and voluntary mitigation commitment design.
The laggard pace and lack of substantive developments demonstrates that the developed vs. developing country lockdown that marred progress at COP15 in Copenhagen last year does not seem to be on the mend. Over the last couple days, China has not failed to express its own disappointment. Xie Zhenhua, vice minister of China’s NDRC, came out extremely critical of developed countries who, in his words, have failed to live up to their commitments. In sum, more of the same, yet we keep getting closer to 2013 with no sign of agreeing on what a post-Kyoto world will look like.
At yesterday’s HPAIR 2010 Asia Conference I had lunch with Prof. Michael Quah from the Energy Studies Institute, another research center at the National University of Singapore, and our discussion quickly moved to micro-grids in Southeast Asia. He had presented on ways to link distributed generation (DG) options with existing centralized electricity infrastructure (your mainstay coal, natural gas, and fuel oil power plants) which would extend service to remote communities and exploit renewable energy resources.
Sounds like a win-win situation, especially when framing the relationship as a complement to existing capacity, not as a replacement or a competitor [greater chance of earning support from the utility company]. These DG hybrid micro-grids don’t need to be connected to the main grid [in fact, grid extension to these communities is more likely to be expensive km-per-km than anywhere else, with no guarantee that minimum demand loads are sufficient to recover costs] and can be managed by community entrepreneurs, not the local utility. He writes about this with Ho Hiang Kwee from DNV Clean Technology Centre in the latest issue of the ESI Bulletin.
Since the last time we posted on Indonesia’s Sidoarjo mudflow, a couple of newsworthy events have arisen, brought to my attention by a colleague whose ear is obviously close to the ground. The mudflow continues and cracks in the Porong highway (connecting Surabaya to Malang) are proving worse than anticipated and could lead to subsidence. While a plan is underway to divert traffic to an alternate road, homeowners whose properties will need to be requisitioned for the road’s construction are holding out until their compensation offers are considered sufficient.
The highway is not East Java’s only mud problem. A levee recently broke and mud’s now spewing into West Jatirejo and a permanent fix will take another 2 months, so for now only temporary patches. This came just days before area residents accused the government of neglecting their relocation, an act whose urgency was outlined in an April study but remains outstanding. So, business as usual…
Indonesia. Palm oil must jump by as much as 24 percent to cool export demand as output declines in Malaysia, the second-biggest grower, and weather damages canola crops in Europe and Canada, according to Godrej International.
“The market needs to move ahead rapidly so that there is time for rationing to set in,” Dorab Mistry, a director at Godrej, said in an e-mail from London.
“At 2,600 ringgit [$824], you can’t match demand with supply. And on top of that, the supply is shrinking.”
Palm oil has rallied 13 percent from a seven-month low on July 7 on optimism consumption will increase in Asian nations, which mark a number of festivals in the September quarter, and on concerns that poor weather may disrupt output in Indonesia and Malaysia, the world’s top producers.
Malaysian stockpiles touched a 10-month low in June as exports rose, according to the nation’s palm oil board.
“The consumer has got it wrong and is still in denial,” said Mistry. “He is watching as one piece of bad news after another comes in each week. At some stage, the consumer needs to get ahead of the game rather than keep fighting the market.”