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Energy efficiency: Southeast Asia's decarbonisation quick fix?

Improving energy efficiency could meet a quarter of Southeast Asia’s emissions reduction targets. Here is how efficiency could drive Southeast Asia's energy transition.

Air-conditioning units on a building in Singapore

Southeast Asia’s energy consumption almost doubled between 1995 and 2015, and is expected to double again by 2040, growing at 4 per cent a year—almost twice as fast as the rest of the world.

Coal is projected to remain the regional bloc’s biggest power source for at least the next 20 years, and Southeast Asia’s planet-warming carbon emissions are projected to grow by two-thirds by 2040.

While the tropical sub-region has been rapidly adding renewable energy capacity to help curb its emissions growth, there is a faster and cheaper way to rein in emissions: improving energy efficiency.

Arctically air-conditioned shopping malls in Singapore and idling trucks in Jakarta traffic jams are clear signs that energy could be better managed in Southeast Asia. The region falls well below the global energy efficiency average, placing strain on Southeast Asia’s aim to reduce energy intensity by 30 per cent by 2025.

And yet energy efficiency improvements, such as fitting better air-conditioning chillers and switching to LED lights, could meet 25 per cent of Southeast Asia’s emissions reductions targets.

Watch this video, which is part of Eco-Business’s series on Southeast Asia’s clean energy transition, for the lowdown on why efficiency is key to the region’s energy future.

Production by Philip Amiote. Music by Rodaq

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