SEADS 2023 Thematic Session

Enabling Energy Transition in Southeast Asia: 
Mechanisms and Initiatives

Organizers: Asian Development Bak and Infrastructure Asia
30 March • 14:00 – 15:30 GMT+8/ Bali Local Time

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  • Scene Setter: Zulfikar Yurnaidi, Manager of Energy Modeling, Policy and Planning Department, ASEAN Centre for Energy 
  • David Elzinga, Principal Energy Specialist (Climate Change), Southeast Asia Department, ADB
  • Lavan Thiru, Executive Director, Infrastructure Asia
  • Narsingh Chaudhary, Executive Vice-President and Managing Director, Black & Veatch (Thailand) Ltd.
  • Maria Corazon Dizon, Chief Finance Officer, Treasurer, and Chief Compliance Officer, ACEN Corporation
  • Xinying Tok, Head of Southeast Asia, Carbon Trust Singapore
  • Moderator: Desi Anwar, Director and Senior Anchor, CNN Indonesia


Southeast Asia’s energy demand is expected to increase exponentially, yet more needs to be done to accelerate the energy transition and enable countries to meet their net-zero targets. This session will discuss how available technologies can support the shift to clean and renewable energy, as well as how policy and legislation can attract private capital to the region’s energy investments.        


Over the next few decades, Southeast Asia—a fast-growing region on track to becoming the world’s largest single market by 2030—will drive global energy demand. In the absence of significant policy change and investments into the energy sector, Southeast Asia’s energy demand is expected to triple by 2050 from the 2020 level, according to estimates from the ASEAN Centre for Energy. Fossil fuels will remain the largest component of the energy system, with the region projected to become a net importer of gas by 2025 and of coal by 2039, the ASEAN Centre for Energy also projected. Over-dependence on energy imports threatens the region’s energy security, particularly in an era of pandemics, global financial crises, and geopolitical wars. 

A transition to a cleaner and more energy-efficient future will be key to dealing with the fossil-fuel dependent region’s energy trilemma of security, sustainability, and affordability. To moderate energy demand growth and improve energy cost efficiencies, an accelerated shift to renewables and the adoption of demand-side management measures must go hand-in-hand. Energy efficiency measures are also needed to curb electricity demand within reasonable limits. 

There are several levers critical to achieving an efficient and effective energy transition, such as technology, financing, legislation, capacity building, and platforms such as the Energy Transition Mechanism (ETM). Coal power plants account for nearly 30% of global carbon dioxide emissions and are predominant in Southeast Asia’s power generation capacity. The ETM incentivizes early retirement or repurposing of coal-fire plants. Understanding the roles and pathways of such levers will allow us to bring the right players together, attract the necessary investments, and create an enabling environment.

Some Southeast Asian countries are already taking the lead in navigating their energy transition, but there remains strong country-by-country variation in energy policy priorities. By making these levers more mainstream and applicable across the region, we can effectively accelerate Southeast Asia’s pace of transition.


This session aims to:

  • Engage thought leaders and government officials on key regional trends, opportunities, and challenges for transitioning to a cleaner energy future 
  • Identify potential projects to adapt innovative technological and financial solutions to address problem statements related to energy transition in the region
  • Encourage cross-fertilization of ideas and explore new areas of collaboration between discussants and participants.

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