ASEAN Interconnector Study: Taking a regional approach to decarbonization

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The ASEAN Interconnector Study conducted by DNV delves into the critical aspects of decarbonization within the member states of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). This comprehensive research explores how collaborative efforts across South East Asian countries can significantly reduce costs and accelerate the transition to cleaner energy sources.

Key insights

  1. Cost reduction potential: By embracing a unified regional strategy, ASEAN countries have the opportunity to slash a staggering USD 800 billion from their decarbonization expenses. This approach involves cross-border power interconnectors, hydrogen networks, and energy storage infrastructure
  2. Net-zero emissions vision: The aspiration to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 is widely shared among ASEAN member states. However, most decarbonization efforts have so far been confined to individual nations.
  3. ASEAN power grid: The establishment of an ASEAN power grid aims to meet the region’s energy needs while enhancing energy security. It can facilitate the transport of clean energy from surplus countries to those facing shortages.

Scenarios modelled

DNV models three scenarios for the ASEAN power sector by 2050:

  1. Individual approach: Countries independently strive to decarbonize using their own resources.
  2. Moderate interconnection: Based on the ‘ASEAN RE Target Case,’ this scenario includes cross-border power interconnectors with limited transmission capacity and no hydrogen network.
  3. Regional cooperation: Unconstrained resource-sharing between countries, involving power interconnectors and hydrogen networks.

Advantages of regional cooperation

  • Minimized renewable generation volumes: Regional cooperation significantly reduces the necessary levels of renewable generation and energy storage
  • Cost savings: DNV estimates that regional cooperation can cut USD 800 billion (approximately 11%) from the overall net present cost of ASEAN decarbonization compared to the Individual approach, and USD 300 billion (approximately 5%) compared to Moderate interconnection.

Concrete recommendations

Drawing on its findings, the study provides actionable recommendations to overcome technical, economic, and policy hurdles to decarbonization. These recommendations are categorized into short, medium, and long-term actions.