Energy is key to the realisation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) that calls for a well-connected ASEAN to drive an integrated, competitive and resilient region.

The primary energy demand for ASEAN energy is expected to grow by an average of 4.7% per year from 2013 and to reach 1,685 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) in 2035, according to the 4th ASEAN Energy Outlook (2015). Both economic and demographic factors drive this energy demand and meeting this successfully will require a balance of economic and supply security with due regard to social and environmental impacts.

The challenge for ASEAN– to sustainably address this growing energy demand ahead of realising the AEC– provides the continuing context for implementing the current ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation (APAEC) 2016-2025.  The APAEC, which is the blueprint for energy sector cooperation, was endorsed by the 32nd ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting (AMEM) on 23rd September 2014 in Vientiane, Lao PDR and pursues the theme of “Enhancing Energy Connectivity and Market Integration in ASEAN to Achieve Energy Security, Accessibility, Affordability and Sustainability for All”.

APAEC is implemented in two phases: Phase I covers the period 2016-2020 and consists of short to medium-term measures to enhance energy security cooperation and to take further steps towards connectivity and integration. Phase II covers the period 2021-2025 and will be developed based on the progress of Phase I implementation.  The APAEC Mid-Term Review in 2018 is expected to help guide ASEAN to chart the pathways and directives for Phase II.

The key strategies of the seven Programme Areas of APAEC 2016-2025 Phase I are as follows:

1)    ASEAN Power Grid: To initiate multilateral electricity trade in at least one sub-region by 2018.
2)    Trans ASEAN Gas Pipeline: To enhance connectivity for energy security and accessibility via pipelines and regasification terminals.
3)    Coal and Clean Coal Technology: To enhance the image of coal through promotion of clean coal technologies (CCT).
4)    Energy Efficiency and Conservation: To reduce energy intensity[1] by 20% in 2020 based on 2005 level.
5)    Renewable Energy: Aspirational target to increase the component of renewable energy[2] to 23% by 2025 in ASEAN Energy Mix[3].
6)    Regional Energy Policy and Planning: To better profile the energy sector internationally.
7)    Civilian Nuclear Energy: To build capabilities in policy, technology and regulatory aspects of nuclear energy

The APAEC 2016-2025 is the third instalment in the APAEC series. The first APAEC was adopted at the 17th AMEM held on 3 July 1999 in Bangkok, Thailand. Meanwhile, the ASEAN Economic Ministers on Energy Cooperation (precursor to the AMEM) was inaugurated on 29-30 September 1980. ASEAN began back then by agreeing to implement a framework for cooperation in energy to enable ASEAN countries to obtain security of supply, whereby AMS work towards lessening dependence on imported oil and towards accelerating the development of indigenous energy sources and energy conservation.  Implementation of the APAEC continues to evolve amidst an increasingly complex balance of economic, environmental and social objectives.

[1] Energy Intensity is calculated as Total Primary Energy Supply (TPES) per GDP PPP at constant 2005 USD.
[2] All sources of renewables, including hydro power of all sizes, but excluding traditional biomass.
[3] ASEAN Energy Mix is based on TPES.