Pre-Forum Event

Meeting Asia’s Energy Demand with 24/7 Renewable Energy Supply hosted by REN21


Context
The global energy sector is navigating a complex macro-environment. Even as average inflation worldwide saw a decline in 2023, it remained significantly higher than levels seen in 2020, with energy prices continuing to influence the global economic landscape significantly. Investment in renewables has seen growth globally, yet the sector now faces challenges from supply chain issues and rising interest rates, leading to increased prices and testing the resolve of both consumers and governments. This comes despite the unprecedented investment and advances made in recent years. In Asia, the adoption of renewable energy increased in 2023, but the pace of uptake varies across the region. The continued reliance on a substantial proportion of fossil fuels poses a threat to these advances.

Despite these challenging market conditions and competing priorities, the deployment of solar PV technology has been at an all-time high worldwide. The international resolve towards renewable energy was further solidified by the global agreement at COP28, where 130 countries, including Bangladesh, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, and Singapore, pledged to triple renewable energy capacity to at least 11 terawatts by 2030. However, despite these ambitious targets, many countries in Asia and elsewhere are not meeting their renewable energy goals, underscoring a significant discrepancy between policy ambitions and real-world achievements in renewable energy implementation.

Concurrently, there's an increasing recognition of the need to overhaul our energy systems for both energy security and climate considerations. Nonetheless, the transition away from fossil fuels is met with resistance, driven by concerns over the intermittency of wind and solar power potentially disrupting local and regional energy supplies. Achieving energy grids with a high share of renewable sources is feasible, but it requires understanding the necessary conditions to support such shares in both distribution and high-voltage grids, from both the perspectives of grid operators and users.

Session Structure

This session will leverage the most recent insights from the newly published REN21's Renewables 2024 Global Status Report to explore the question: "What would it take for the Asia region to fulfill its energy needs entirely with renewable energy around the clock?" The discussion will focus on a critical component of achieving a 24/7 renewable energy system: the varied challenges involved in adapting power grids for substantial renewable energy integration. This includes navigating complex, multi-tiered approval processes, addressing difficulties in locating transmission lines, overcoming investment barriers, securing social licenses, and streamlining lengthy procedures for connecting projects—both onshore and offshore—to the grid, alongside considering the role of energy storage. Panelists will examine these issues within the context of Asia, delving into the unique challenges faced by the region and identifying strategies to address them.