Global Energy Monitor
  • Warda Ajaz, Julie Joly, Baird Langenbrunner, and Rob Rozansky

Key points

  • Gas expansion plans could lead to a doubling of Southeast Asia's gas-fired power capacity and an 80% increase in liquefied natural gas (LNG) import capacity at a cost of US$220 billion. 
  • Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand are at the forefront of this push.
  • Renewables can help cover the gap: Utility-scale solar and wind projects that are already planned would match nearly two-thirds of the projected energy demand increase for 2030.

A massive expansion of gas-fired power and LNG import and export capacity is planned for Southeast Asia that if built could lock the region into an economically-volatile and insecure fuel and draw investment away from the energy transition, according to a new report from Global Energy Monitor.

Data in the Asia Gas Tracker show over 100 gigawatts (GW) of gas power capacity in development — projects that have been announced or are in the pre-construction and construction phases — together with 47 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of LNG import capacity and 16.7 mtpa of export capacity.

International finance is incentivizing the development of gas infrastructure via mechanisms like the Just Energy Transition Partnerships and bilateral investment, particularly from Japan. Yet Southeast Asia could meet its growing energy needs through renewable sources, which are increasingly cost-competitive. If redirected, international finance could instead support the development of solar and wind projects and the stability of the regional power grid.

Data in Global Energy Monitor’s Global Solar Power Tracker and Global Wind Power Tracker show that the region’s prospective large utility-scale solar and wind capacity, if successfully built, can generate 450 terawatt hours annually of electricity, which equates to almost two-thirds of electricity demand projected by 2030.

Warda Ajaz

Energy demand is increasing across Southeast Asia as economies grow, but ramping up gas production is not a long-term solution. Meeting demand with cost-effective, renewable sources insulates the region from volatile gas prices and is a greener path forward.

Warda Ajaz, Project Manager for the Asia Gas Tracker

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