Collaboration required to create a future with far fewer emissions

I recently had the privilege to address the Asia Green Growth Partnership Ministerial Meeting in Japan, with a particular focus on transition finance and innovation in Asia.

It was a fascinating and highly relevant event to participate in, featuring key government stakeholders from a wide variety of jurisdictions: Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Thailand, UAE, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Canada.

There was also representation from the ASEAN Economic Community, the Economic Research Instititue for ASEAN and East Asia, the International Energy Agency, a range of Japanese companies involved in the energy sector, and some of Asia’s biggest financial institutions.

In short, it was a very diverse gathering but also one with some crucial common ground: recognition of the need for energy transition as countries move towards net zero, amid a global political landscape where the tenuous nature of energy supply and security has very much been highlighted over the past 12 months.

My own address, undertaken virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic and which you can view in the YouTube clip below (it starts about the 6.29-mark), was an opportunity to provide a little background on the formation of ANGEA in 2021 and highlight our vision of a successful energy transition built around all-of-industry collaboration.

But it was also an opportunity to touch on some of the challenges that go hand-in-hand with that transition – challenges that I know many of the jurisdictions represented at the event wrestle with on a daily basis.

The three pillars of energy systems worldwide are security, affordability, and emissions. As I outlined in my presentation, it’s currently a shared trilemma, with changing public policy, resource access, capital availability and investment in infrastructure at the heart of that.

Policy must be set for the long term, and recognise the scale of energy systems and their complexity to ensure that investment is there to deliver flexible solutions. Policy also needs to sit within an international trans-boundary framework if it is going to provide the legal and regulatory framework that investors require.

And there will certainly need to be plenty of investment. The ability to attract such investment will underpin not only efforts to help developing economies access natural gas to transition away from coal – one of Asia’s biggest challenges – but also the development of renewable power sources, carbon capture and storage solutions, new energies like hydrogen and ammonia, and biofuels and nuclear energy.

While renewables clearly have a major role to play in the move towards net zero, there remains issues around intermittency and storage. Similarly, many of the newer technologies, including carbon capture and hydrogen, must still take the ultimate step from successful prototype to full-scale deployment.

But all these “hurdles” can be negotiated with industry, governments and financing organisations working together to enable solutions.

That’s very much why the Asia Natural Gas and Energy Association exists.

Across the full breadth of stakeholders involved in the energy transition, I think there’s a pretty strong understanding of where we need to get to: a future with far fewer emissions.

How we get there is still to be fully decided. My vision is that ANGEA will have an important role to play in bringing governments, industry and communities together to help map out that journey.

You can read more about the Asia Green Growth Partnership Ministerial Meeting here, including watching a video of the keynote speech and roundtable.

Paul Everingham is the inaugural CEO of the Asia Natural Gas and Energy Association (ANGEA), which works with governments, society and industry throughout Asia to build effective and integrated energy policies that meet each country’s climate objectives.

Main image by Photo by Louie Martinez on Unsplash