Stakeholders meet to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy technology in ASEAN region

Bangkok, 29 November 2016 - The second regional stakeholders’ consultation meeting on regional policy recommendations for energy efficiency and renewable energy in ASEAN kicked off Tuesday in Bangkok.

The workshop, organized by UN Environment's Environment and Trade Hub in collaboration with the International Copper Association (ICA), is a follow-up to the first regional stakeholders’ consultation which occurred in August of this year, also in Bangkok. Discussions in both instances revolved around a scoping study undertaken by UN Environment and ICA aimed at fostering greater understanding of the benefits of increasing intra-ASEAN value chain cooperation and trade in energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies while building regional capacity in this field.

While the previous meeting focused on presenting initial findings and gathering comments and feedback on the study, Tuesday’s workshop aimed to propose recommendations for increased cooperation on trade of these technologies between ASEAN member countries. Discussions also focused on future recommended policy and regulatory measures to accelerate market penetration of the energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies in ASEAN. Participants included ASEAN country representatives from relevant ministries, civil society members and experts from the private sector.

The study, which uniquely focuses on seven energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies: air conditioners, refrigerators, lighting, electric motors, distribution transformers, solar PV and solar thermal, was presented by UN Environment, ICA and Castlerock Asia, an energy, infrastructure and IT consulting firm who conducted research for this study. Recommendations focused on harmonization of standards, both between ASEAN countries and between the region and the international community as a whole. When considering energy efficiency, this process will require consensus on targets for performance testing, a gap analysis on national performance testing standards and international reference points, comparative efficiency studies between ASEAN countries, and formulation of a potential regional minimum efficiency target. For renewable energy technologies, a similar process was recommended to harmonize product quality standards, to build capacity of installers and designers, to develop technical codes for connection to the grid, and to facilitate access to finance.

During the afternoon session, participants were split into four groups based on background and expertise: distribution transformers, electric motors, household appliances (AC, lighting, refrigerators) and solar energy. The groups discussed the draft recommendations and agreed on final policy recommendations to be made to ASEAN Member States. Major recommendations from this session called for a regional approach to develop, adopt and harmonize standards in order to remove non-tariff barriers to trade; to reduce the cost of compliance for manufacturers and facilitate a regional approach to adopting proactive policies to support market transformation; to select international standards that could provide a basis for standards harmonization; to define appropriate approaches to create awareness among end-users; to build capacity among local manufacturers; and finally, to create a regional approach to monitoring, verification and enforcement. The break-out session built on results of the scoping study presented earlier in the day, providing space for idea-sharing between experts in all segments of the energy efficiency and renewable energy technology trade – policy nexus.  

ASEAN countries have been active in promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies in order to fulfil their global commitment on climate change, seen, for example, in feed-in tariff schemes in Thailand, Philippines and Malaysia and the liberalization of electricity markets across the region. The results of this workshop and scoping study hope to build on growing momentum and to further enhance intra-ASEAN trade and climate change mitigation actions in the region.

The scoping study forms part of the wider ASEAN SHINE portfolio. The recommendations made during this workshop will help to develop action plans for the promotion of the aforementioned technologies in ASEAN. Such action plans will be submitted to the relevant ASEAN regional fora (Energy Efficiency and Conservation Sub-Sector Network – EE&C SSN – and Renewable Energy Sub-Sector Network – RE SSN) for endorsement.

For further information on UN Environment trade work, please visit the web page of the Environment and Trade Hub