“Asia is home to 60 percent of the global population and contributes more than half of all greenhouse gas emissions,” said Datuk Bacho Pilong, senior vice president of project delivery and technology at Malaysian energy group Petronas. But he believes the region is establishing itself as a “pivot of global growth” with potential for alternative and greener types of development.
“Asia has everything it needs to become a hub of talent, innovation, low-carbon investment and clean technology,” said Bacho, who spoke to the South China Morning Post at the inaugural Energy Asia conference in Kuala Lumpur in June. Malaysia. “However, the key to achieving this is uniting all like-minded partners to work together to enhance Asia’s appeal as a sustainable energy hub. As an energy player operating in the heart of the region, Petronas wishes to advance this much-needed discussion to advance collaboration and accelerate actions.
Sharing this view is Sushil Purohit, CEO of Gentari, a Petronas-owned clean energy solutions provider focused on delivering integrated net-zero solutions. In an interview with the Post ahead of the conference, he said, “Governments, businesses and other stakeholders need to join hands to overcome the challenges and actively encourage and transition to a cleaner and more sustainable energy future.” Speeding up should be considered.
Tapping the potential of Asia
Asia’s diverse economic landscape – with different resources, policies and levels of development – demands comprehensive collaboration that leverages the expertise of various stakeholders. “A one-size-fits-all approach will not be effective in reducing carbon emissions in Asia,” Bacho said. “Instead, we must create distinct energy transition pathways through collective actions, such as establishing a comprehensive ecosystem that fosters growth.”
Bacho said that technology will certainly be at the forefront of this immediate effort towards energy transformation. “Deployment of technologies is one of the most important levers to solve the net-zero challenge,” he added. “Technology enhances the accuracy of emissions accounting or measurement, which is critical in identifying where major emitters are and managing them according to data-enabled transparency and granularity.”
Bacho believes that building an innovation ecosystem will be conducive to attracting talent and making progress in clean technology. This type of development requires a collective effort from all stakeholders, including regional cooperation and government-driven support policies such as tax incentives or green project allowances. Working together, partners are empowered to address potential challenges to green energy deployment, from high upfront costs to a lack of energy storage solutions.
“These factors may seem like obstacles, but they are opportunities if partners come together to decide the right paths to address them,” Bacho said.
Purohit pointed out that Asian countries are already moving in that direction: “Governments in Asia are also increasingly adopting supportive policies to encourage the development and adoption of clean energy technologies, in line with their efforts to adhere to the Paris Agreement.” implementing.”
Apart from becoming an attractive destination for investment in clean technology, the region also has great potential to emerge as a global leader in the adoption of renewable energy. It offers a large pool of skilled labor as well as abundant resources for solar and wind power as well as hydropower. Purohit said seven of the top 10 countries for employment in the solar photovoltaic industry are located in Asia.
Bacho said an adaptable workforce will prove essential to the transition to clean energy. “The good news is that 65 to 70 percent of the skills needed in new energy sectors such as carbon capture and storage, hydrogen, solar, wind and electrification use the same technical disciplines as oil, gas and automation.” He said. “Candidates with transferable skills will be in high demand.”
Solutions driven by collaboration and research
Taking the right path, Asia can emerge as a hub for clean energy and low-carbon investment. Countries may follow in the footsteps of China, which has already established itself as a major player in the clean technology industry, especially solar and wind power. According to the International Energy Agency, it is projected to invest around US$380 billion in 2021 – more than any other country – and also contributes 30 per cent of the global energy workforce.
Malaysia is also making progress towards clean energy through efforts from both the government and business sectors. In August 2022, Petronas signed a memorandum of understanding with Malaysian power company Tenaga Nasional Berhad to collaborate on innovative solutions for decarbonisation, in support of the country’s goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050.
In addition, Petronas is working on the Cassava Carbon Sequestration Project, which will be one of the largest offshore carbon capture and storage projects globally when it goes on stream in 2026. It is also partnering with SEDC Energy in the Malaysian state of Sarawak to accelerate development. and the adoption of hydrogen and renewable oil as alternative fuels.
A partnership-driven approach has been behind the development of the world’s leading clean energy centres. “Denmark is considered a leader in wind energy technology and has been at the forefront of the industry for decades,” Purohit explained. “Its success has been achieved through strong public-private collaboration, a supportive business environment and a focus on research and development.”
Beyond regional cooperation, Asian countries can gain valuable knowledge by teaming up with advanced clean energy countries such as Iceland or Norway, both of which use renewable sources for more than 98 percent of their electricity production.
“These collaborations will be important in learning about their experiences and technologies, as well as allowing opportunities for technology transfer,” Purohit said. “These partnerships can take the form of joint research projects, exchange programs, and collaborations between businesses and institutions.”
Going forward, Petronas and Gentari are working on their commitments to a net-zero future. While Gentari is focusing on its core offerings of renewable energy, hydrogen and green mobility, Petronas has set several goals to achieve net zero by venturing beyond its core business.
“Between 2022 and 2026, we aim to allocate 20 percent of Petronas’ capital expenditure to operational decarbonization, renewable projects and clean energy solutions, to reduce emissions and enable our customers to meet their respective net-zero ambitions. New energy offers can be increased in support. ,” Bacho said.
“We are prioritizing technology and innovation, so we always welcome great solutions. For example, we organized a global hackathon called Race2decarbonize to discover the best ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.
“We hope that our thirst and work towards innovating for energy transformation will inspire others across the region and even around the world to accelerate their efforts in this collective journey towards a sustainable future do.”