Session 14: Sustainable Urban Energy Solutions: The Role of Renewables

May 8th, 2018

With the projected urbanization of Asia over the next three decades, the energy systems in these growing cities need to be transformed, in order to avoild locking the urban energy infrastructure into a carbon intensive scenario for many decades. Without changes to how urban environments provide services, energy use in these areas will experience massive growth, along with global emissions of greenhouse gases and local air pollution. The use of renewables also contributes to urban resilience, as has been demonstrated through the use of a range of technologies including solar PV, geothermal for heating, heat pumps, electric vehicles, and energy storage. Presentations in this session will describe the relationship between renewables, energy efficiency, infrastructure development, and urban transportation, and how renewables can, and will, be an important part of the solution in delivering climate resilience and sustainability for cities. They will also stimulate discussion about what lessons Asia can learn from other regions.


Session Chair: Yong Chen, Programme Officer – Sustainable Urban Energy, IRENA


Kevin Treco, Associate Director, Programmes and Innovation, Carbon Trust

Megacities: Transitions to Clean Energy Solutions

By 2050, up to 65% of Asia’s population is expected to live in cities. The strain placed on major cities by rapid urban growth is immense and the implications clear: efforts are needed to support Asia’s further economic and social development, while reducing its use of carbon intensive energy. This presentation will highlight findings from a recent report by the Carbon Trust and the Inter-American Development Bank on developing clean energy solutions in Latin America’s major cities. Drawing on experiences working with city governments in Malaysia in particular, this presentation will discuss how some of the lessons learned and recommendations from this report may be transferred to the rest of Asia. Six building blocks were identified for action: policy, governance, project prioritization, stakeholder engagement, finance and resilience.

Kyle Datta, Partner, Ulupono Foundation

Renewables and Resilience

The lessons of super storms in Puerto Rico and Hurricane Sandy in New York, taught utilities about the importance of resilience as a design criteria in the era of climate change. As utility systems set goals of rapid renewable penetration, there has been much research and investigation on how to preserve reliability as the penetration of intermittent renewables increases. However, there has been very little work on the role of renewables in increasing system resilience—the ability to withstand and recover from a large scale disruption to the grid. This presentation will share insights into how renewables performed in Puerto Rico, the lessons for resilience from the storm, and how renewables and more advanced grid architecture, including microgrids, and defense in depth are being used to rebuild Puerto Rico’s electrical system. Similarly, in Hawaii, the grid modernization effort and push to accelerate renewables is also being used as an opportunity to address system resilience. There are significant implications to other tropical and island powergrids.

Recca Liem, Principal, ENEA Consulting

Renewables-Based Microgrids: An Emerging Urban Energy Solution for Developing Asia

Cities and urban areas will need to use different, new energy solutions in tandem to meet their growing electricity demands for electricity in a sustainable manner. One potent combination of such technologies that has been gaining attention is microgrids: generation assets, battery storage plus energy management systems, with clearly defined electrical boundaries, able to operate independently from the grid. Traditionally, the microgrids are based on diesel-engines and primarily used for strategic assets, like military defense, and airports. With the technology advancement and decreasing costs of renewables and batteries, microgrids become more accessible for urban applications. This presentation will examine how embedding renewables in microgrids could enhance the affordability, reliability of supply and reduce global emissions, explore cases studies, and summarize the solutions can be particularly interesting for developing Asia, where the reliability from grid supply remains to be improved.

Haukur Hardarson, Chairman, Arctic Green Energy Corporation

Geothermal Heating & Cooling for Zero Emission Cities

Low-grade geothermal resources have enormous potential for district heating, industrial process heat, and other applications. Such potential has been systematically overlooked in developing Asia, partly due to lack of knowledge and partly due to a narrow focus on geothermal for electricity generation. But awareness is finally growing, thanks to a better understanding of resources, smarter policies, and cross-border transfers of advanced technology. Arctic Green Energy (AGE), a global geothermal leader from Iceland, is spearheading Asia’s geothermal revolution. The presentation will describe how AGE’s joint-venture with Sinopec Group is helping to transform the role of geothermal energy in the heating sector of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). It will also share AGE’s vision for sustainable, affordable geothermal energy in new markets including Mongolia, Kazakhstan, and other Asian developing countries.

Nadhilah Shani, Technical Officer, ASEAN Centre for Energy

ASEAN Policies Pathway in Untapping RE in Transport Sector through Electric Vehicle

Primary energy demand in ASEAN is projected to double by 2025, with transport taking a big part of it after the industrial sector, due to urbanization trend and the growing economy. Increasing energy demand in the transport sector will also create more environmental challenges into ASEAN since it will lead to a projected 35% increase in CO2 emission by 2025. With the strong commitment to tackling climate challenges through renewable energy in the region, ASEAN is exploring the option of following the global trend of promoting EVs in the transport sector. The question arises as to how ready ASEAN is to shift the transport sector toward electric mobility, considering the different stages of the economies across the 10 ASEAN member countries. This presentation will answer the question by identifying the main drivers and barriers for ASEAN in implementing EVs in the region, and will recommend actions needed to accelerate EVS with a suitable localized approach for ASEAN.