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While coal, the most affordable but environmentally unfriendly fuel, continues to dominate the Asian power market (it fuels around 60% of Asia’s electricity), the growing interest in renewable energy is undeniable. This is reflected in the targets that many countries in the region have set. Like Europe, where the 2009 Renewable Energy Directive requires the EU to source 20% of its energy from renewable energy by 2020, many countries in South East Asia have set targets in the renewable energy sphere as well. In Indonesia, an ambitious target of 25% by 2025 has been set (referred to as "Vision 25/25"), in Thailand a similar target of 25% by 2021 is in place, while Vietnam has a more modest target of 5% by 2020. Malaysia’s target forms part of the National Renewable Energy Policy and Action Plan and is 11% by 2020, while the Philippines aims to triple its renewable energy usage by 2030 to 15,000MW.
With subsidy cuts, policy uncertainty and funding gaps characterizing Europe’s clean energy landscape, it is not surprising that interest in the Asian renewable market is growing. One area that is continuing to attract a lot of attention is solar energy. Indeed, Bloomberg recently reported that almost all new investments in clean energy in Thailand have been in solar power projects. This article will look at the changing regulatory landscape for commercial solar power projects in South East Asia and explore some of the key legal and regulatory challenges that may be encountered in this burgeoning market.
Another important motivation is Thailand’s increasing dependence on energy import, which is expected to grow from 42% (2013) to 78% (2040). The share of natural gas imports almost doubles due to declining domestic production and the high demand for power generation. To limit energy imports, the national power plan (AEDP 2015-2036) foresees that, by 2040, biomass shall have the largest share with 13% (11 GW), followed by PV with 9% (8 GW), wind with 6% (5 GW) and hydropower with 5% (4 GW).
The potential of hydropower in the MRB is about 53,000 MW consisting of 23,000 MW in the Upper Mekong Basin (China) and 30,000 MW in Lower Mekong Basin (Lao PDR, Thailand, Cambodia and Viet Nam). Locations current and proposed hydropower projects are shown in the map. locations and current stage of the projects (26 projects are locate in the mainstream and the remaining 126 projects are in the tributaries). Thailand and Viet Nam have developed most of their potential tributaries sites. The mainstream of the LMB has a potential to produce over 13,000 MW of hydropower. Over the past few years, investors and developers mostly from China, Malaysia, Thailand and Viet Nam have submitted proposals for twelve hydropower projects for the LMB mainstream. Those proposals are among the largest and most significant developments ever considered by LMB countries in terms of benefits and risks