Southeast Asian nations need to more than double their annual investment on renewables to accelerate energy transition and to meet climate goals, a report released on Thursday by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) showed.
IRENA said, in the long term, average annual investment of $210 billion was needed on renewable energy, energy efficiency and to support technologies and infrastructure in the period to 2050 to limit a global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
The investment is more than two and a half times the amount currently planned by Southeast Asian governments to reach their goals, IRENA said.
“Coal retirement, coupled with renewables and regional grid interconnection, is an indispensable step to aligning with net-zero targets,” IRENA’s Director-General Francesco La Camera said.
Southeast Asia is home to 25% of the world’s geothermal generation capacity, but the region also has major coal reserves. The region’s biggest economy Indonesia is the world’s top exporter of thermal coal.
While half of the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have pledged to stop using coal in the power sector, La Camera said climate commitments required concerted and accelerated action “that must begin now to have a hope of success.”
The region aims to have 23% of its primary energy supplied by renewables by 2025, however, investments in recent years show mixed progress, IRENA said.
“Accelerating energy transition is crucial in order to meet climate goals and support the region’s economic growth,” Reuter quoted Nuki Agya Utama, executive director of the ASEAN Centre for Energy saying, adding the bloc remained committed to its 2025 goals.
IRENA said countries could by investing more in renewables reduce their energy costs and avoid as much as $1.5 trillion of costs related to health and environmental damage from fossil fuels up to 2050.