HELE coal technologies are the most efficient pathway for the ASEAN region

22nd Jun 2017

ASEAN Energy Insights

In the third in our series of ASEAN Energy Insights, Liam McHugh, WCA Policy Manager, reviews low emission technology options across the ASEAN region.

ASEAN requires an additional 800 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity generation between 2020 and 2035. The analysis below illustrates the upfront capital investment required for different generation mix alternatives able to meet this demand growth.

The lowest cost pathway from a purely generation perspective would be achieved through the deployment of subcritical coal at a cost of $180 billion. However, given the imperative to reduce emissions, this is not a practical option. Increasing investment to encourage deployment of the most efficient ultra-supercritical technology would reduce CO2 emissions by 200 million tonnes per year.

To put it more simply, over the next two decades if ASEAN’s HELE transition continues it could lead to a carbon reduction equivalent of India’s annual emissions. 

It could be argued that ASEAN should invest in renewable sources of electricity, such as wind or solar. Leaving practicalities aside (intermittency, land access, grid suitability), analysis indicates it would cost an additional $500 billion to pursue a purely renewable investment option – close to fifty times the size of Laos’s annual GDP.

ASEAN’s Energy Equation, co-authored by the World Coal Association (WCA) and the ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE) is available to download here.