The renewable energy race is speeding up, particularly in the power sector. There is increasing demand for renewable energy to be the fuel source of choice for all sectors and all uses. At the 28th Conference of Parties to the Paris Agreement (COP28) in December 2023, approximately 123 countries pledged to triple renewable energy capacity worldwide by 2030. However, in many developing countries, renewable energy capacity remains a scarce resource, especially for heating and cooling. The renewable energy sources being considered are hydropower, wind, solar, geothermal, ocean, sustainable biomass and biofuels. Yet, each country has specific characteristics and needs that require a combination of solutions including energy storage and imports from neighboring countries. Decision-makers across Asia and the Pacific need to consider questions such as: Which sectors should be prioritized for renewable energy to cost-effectively deliver the greatest GHG emissions reduction in our country? How can we collectively accelerate investments in renewable energy capacity? What is needed to increase private sector participation and financing in renewable energy in developing and emerging markets? The four main areas of discussion in this Thematic Track will include:
- Renewable Energy for Power: Some countries are blessed with significant renewable energy resources and with considerable potential to be developed. Yet private sector participation and financing remains limited, and large, complex projects can take a long time to materialize. How can governments accelerate private sector investments in renewable energy capacity in the power sector? What are the challenges, opportunities and key policies needed to facilitate project approvals? How can renewable energy resources be shared across borders?
- Offshore Wind, Floating Solar and Other Ocean Technologies: Many countries in Asia and the Pacific are dependent on oceans for their economic growth. Yet, one free resource remains unexplored – marine renewable energy. Offshore wind and floating solar projects are being developed and implemented in several countries in the region. There is a unique opportunity to examine multifunctional approaches to better manage coastal and marine areas and exclusive economic zones, while harnessing their renewable energy resources. What does a multifunctional approach involve? How are countries planning and implementing marine renewable energy projects? What are the challenges and risks? How can we ensure strong cross government collaboration on marine renewable energy related projects? How are ports, ships and transmission lines being upgraded to meet this demand? How are innovative projects being structured and financed by the private sector?
- Variable Renewable Energy and Battery Storage: With increasing variable renewable energy generation, governments and state-owned electricity companies have shown concern about the impact on electricity grids and the need for large-scale storage including battery storage. Some developing member countries have opted to curtail renewable energy, even if it is only a small share of overall power generation. How can this challenge be resolved – what are the policies changes needed and how can the private sector support such efforts? What is the role of energy storage and what regulations are needed to trigger greater investments from the private sector? What are the different types of energy storage solutions and how are these being deployed in the region? What will be the role of distributed renewable energy solutions and energy storage?
- Renewable Energy for Transport, Agriculture and Other Sectors: To achieve net-zero, it is essential that all sectors make use of renewable energy including transport, water supply, agriculture, data centers, and many others. How are renewable energy solutions being deployed and financed across these sectors? How is the private sector being engaged to deliver and operate renewable energy projects for state-owned transport and water sectors? What is the role of utilities in delivering renewable energy solutions in these sectors? What are the different renewable energy fuels being considered for transport (e.g. biogas, bioethanol, biodiesel)? What investments are being made by the private sector in sustainable aviation fuel? Is there a future for biofuels and which should be the priority uses in transportation including in agriculture?