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Wind Power Potential in ASEAN

ASEAN member states have made collective commitments to achieve carbon neutrality or net-zero emissions and have set targets to increase the share of renewable energy in their energy mix, aiming for 23% renewable energy and 35% total installed capacity. However, while there is a collective target among member states, individual countries need to focus on developing domestic policies to attract foreign investments in the renewable energy sector. It is important to note that, apart from the Philippines and Singapore, all other member states still follow the single-vertically integrated utility model, which heavily regulates the power market through government intervention.


Historically, fossil fuels, primarily coal, have accounted for 75% of the energy supply in the ASEAN region. The installed capacity of coal power plants has been increasing at an annual rate of 7% since 2017, supported by international investors. In contrast, renewable energy sources, including hydropower, contribute less than a quarter of the installed capacity, highlighting the need for further development in the renewable sector.


Wind power has emerged as a significant area of interest in ASEAN countries due to their abundant wind resources, particularly in coastal and hilly regions. Although the region has high wind potential, the development of wind power projects is not as much as expected. Most countries are still facing the issue of investment and regulations.


Figure 1. Off-Shore Wind Power Project


Vietnam

Vietnam has emerged as a leading force in wind power development within the ASEAN region. The country enjoys favorable wind conditions, particularly along its central and southern coastlines, which serve as hotspots for the development of large-scale offshore wind projects. However, developers and investors encounter challenges with permit approvals for occupying sea areas, hindering the progress in this aspect.


Nevertheless, Vietnam has experienced remarkable expansion in its wind power capacity and has successfully attracted investments from both domestic and international companies. A key contributing factor to this growth is the relatively high feed-in tariff rate offered by the Vietnamese government, which surpasses that of many other countries in the region.


Thailand

Thailand has emerged as a frontrunner among ASEAN countries in terms of wind power capacity, with over 1.5 GW already installed and operational. The Thai government has set ambitious goals for renewable energy, aiming to achieve a 30% renewable energy capacity by 2037, with wind power playing a vital role in reaching this target.


Thailand has made significant advancements in establishing wind power infrastructure. The government has implemented favorable policies like feed-in tariffs and power purchase agreements to support the growth of renewable energy. Wind farms are primarily concentrated in the northeastern and southern regions of Thailand, taking advantage of the favorable wind conditions in these areas.


Philippines

Despite having abundant wind resources, the utilization of wind power in the Philippines is not as extensive as in the aforementioned countries. However, the Philippines stands out as the leading ASEAN country in terms of renewable energy capacity, with a significant portion of its renewable energy projects being derived from hydropower and geothermal sources. To support the development of renewable energy, the government has implemented beneficial policies, including the feed-in tariff and the renewable portfolio standard.


The Philippines' commitment to wind power has proven effective in harnessing its wind resources and contributing to its renewable energy objectives. Continued dedication and investments in the wind power sector will further propel the growth of the Philippines' renewable energy industry, reducing dependency on conventional fossil fuel-based power generation methods.


Indonesia

Indonesia holds significant wind power potential, especially in its eastern regions. However, the progress of wind power development has been comparatively slower when compared to other renewable energy sources like geothermal and hydroelectric power. Presently, only two utility-scale on-shore wind power projects are operational in South Sulawesi. The sluggish growth can be attributed to the absence of attractive incentives for developers to invest in renewable projects, including wind and solar power.


Nonetheless, the Indonesian government recognizes the need to bolster renewable energy development, including wind power. Plans are underway to introduce a new and renewable energy act that encompasses several measures to support the development of renewable energy projects. These initiatives aim to create a more conducive environment for wind power and other renewable energy sources, thereby fostering their increased utilization in the future.


Malaysia

Malaysia has been actively exploring the integration of wind power into its renewable energy portfolio. However, as of now, the country has not implemented any utility-scale wind power projects. There are several potential areas that could be further explored for wind energy development, with the state of Sabah in the northern part of Borneo being one such area of interest.


In Malaysia, significant investments have been made in research and development initiatives to assess the viability of wind power. Wind energy is viewed as a means to diversify Malaysia's energy sources and reduce dependency on fossil fuels. By incorporating wind power into its energy mix, Malaysia aims to enhance energy security, mitigate the impacts of climate change, and achieve its sustainable development goals. Continued efforts in this direction will contribute to Malaysia's transition towards a more sustainable and diversified energy future.


Lao DPR

Laos relies heavily on electricity exports to its neighboring countries, such as Thailand and Vietnam, with approximately 80% of its generated electricity being sent across borders. These exports account for about 30% of Laos' total exports by value. In a recent development, Laos entered into an agreement with Singapore to export 100 MW of hydroelectric power. This power will be transmitted to Singapore through the interconnected grid project known as the Lao-Thailand-Malaysia-Singapore Power Integration Project (LTMS-PIP).


In addition to its hydroelectric ventures, Laos is currently undertaking the development of one of the largest wind power projects in the ASEAN region. With an impressive installed capacity of 600 MW, this project aims to provide electricity to more than 8,400 households annually. The power generated from this wind project will be transmitted to Vietnam under a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) that spans 25 years, ensuring a long-term supply of renewable energy between the two countries.


Other ASEAN countries

Brunei, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Singapore, among other ASEAN member states, have witnessed limited progress in wind power development due to various factors, including geographical limitations, alternative energy sources, and diverse energy priorities.


Figure 2. On-Shore Wind Power Project


It's important to acknowledge that the status and advancements in wind power development can evolve as countries continue expanding their renewable energy strategies. The emphasis on wind power within ASEAN stems from the objective of reducing dependence on fossil fuels, promoting sustainable energy sources, and mitigating climate change.



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