The Asia region consists of fourteen National Member Committees (NMCs). It is a large and diverse region in terms of its economic stages, culture and language as well as in terms of the energy issues it faces.
The Asia Regional Vice Chair is Mr Shigeru (Sam) Muraki of Tokyo Gas. The Asia Regional Manager is Emily Melton, who retired as Chief Operating Officer of the Council in December 2016 but who continues with the Council in an advisory role.
One of the main activities in the region over the past twelve months has been a study on “Best Practices of the GHG Reduction Measures in Asian Region”. The Study Group was led by Mr Hajime Murata of the Japanese Member Committee, with representatives from Hong Kong, India, Japan and Korea (Rep) comprising the Study Group. The study was approved by the Asian members at the Asia Regional Meeting in Lisbon in October 2017. The study is available here: Best Practices of GHG Reduction Measures
A new process for selecting, reviewing and approving regional studies is being piloted in the Asia region over the next year. This provides for two types of studies: one is an Endorsed study, which goes through the Council’s usual governance process, with approval of the proposal and final study required by the Studies Committee. Endorsed studies must provide a regional perspective or regional data that flows into one of the global flagships studies.
The second type of regional study is the Independent study. Independent studies are under the jurisdiction of the region, and the selection, review and approval process is structured under the oversight of the Regional Vice Chair. Such studies are based on topics which emerge from the regional issues map from the latest Issues Monitor and are designed to explore in detail a topic which is of particular relevance to the region. Once the pilot has been completed, the two-prong approach to regional studies will be rolled out to other regions.
Key issues for the Asia region currently include technology and innovation, energy efficiency, the energy-water-food nexus, energy markets, centralization/decentralization of energy systems and meeting energy demand.
The Council is partnering with China’s Energy Research Institute (ERI) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to conduct a Trilemma provincial deep dive in China. ADB has provided funding to support the pilot phase of the project, which is expected to be launched in early 2018 and completed later in the year. The provincial deep dive is intended to take the global methodology and translate it to a regional level within China. It will also help to enhance the understanding of what energy sustainability means in the provinces and develop consistency in the definition across provinces. The pilot will involve three provinces, but once completed, the expectation is that the initial work will be expanded to cover additional provinces. Read more about the Council’s World Energy Trilemma study.
Another pilot programme to be tested in the Asia region in 2018 is the newly created Ambassadors programme, which is aimed at developing additional support for member committees in the region by using Future Energy Leaders or other interested Council members to help encourage engagement of the member committees in the Council’s activities. This programme is expected to be rolled out in early 2018.
Monthly Teleconferences - Beginning in January 2018, Regional Vice Chair Shigeru Muraki and Regional Manager Emily Melton will organise monthly conference calls to which all Asian members will be invited, with the intention of facilitating communication and regular interaction among the member committees in the region.
Asia Regional Meetings – Asian members have the opportunity to meet twice a year, once in the May-June period and once at the annual World Energy Week held in 3rd or 4th quarter of the year. The next Asia regional meeting will take place at the end of May in Tokyo and will be hosted by the Japanese Member Committee.
Energy in Asia
A significant shift has occurred in the critical uncertainties in Asia over the past year. The 2018 report identified the top critical uncertainties as electric storage, IoT (internet of things), blockchain and digitalisation. For 2019 the biggest uncertainty is US policy, followed by commodity prices, with electricity prices, electric storage and China clustered in third place. Climate framework, which was an action priority last year, rose back into the critical uncertainty quadrant, although with less perceived impact than other issues.
The fact that many countries in Asia depend heavily on trade with the US, coupled with the recent slow-down in China’s economic growth – which has a trickle-down effect – has created high levels of uncertainty, not only for the region, but also for foreign businesses with operations in Asia and for foreign investors seeking to enter the Asian market.
Concerns about commodity prices is a natural result of uncertainty about US policy and is seen as potentially affecting the availability of foreign imports in a region which is highly dependent on imports. The urgent need to meet increasing demand for affordable electricity in the most populous region of the world and to make electric storage a feasible option is reflected in the positions of these elements in the map.
Under action priorities, renewable energies and energy efficiency are the most urgent issues, as countries seek to meet the ever-growing demand for electricity, manage air pollution levels and still meet their climate action goals.
Digitalisation has moved from uncertainty to action priority as pressure on companies to make their operations more efficient increases. The shift of innovative critical uncertainty in 2018 to Action Priority in 2019 reflects concerns about the increasing number of vehicles on the road, especially in urban centres, and the urgent need to manage the emissions they create.
Finally, economic growth has become an action priority as countries seek to offset the potential impact of US trade policies, tighter financial policies, weaker earnings growth and global political challenges.