Triple play on business, technology and policy crucial for future energy progress in Asia

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The importance of the 3 pillars of growth – sustainable business practices, technological advancements and green global policies apparent at Clean Energy Expo Asia 2013 and Energy Efficiency Asia 2013.

The fifth Clean Energy Expo Asia and the inaugural Energy Efficiency Asia came to a close today, after three days of intensive discussions, networking and trading. Co-located with Carbon Forum Asia, the three events ran across the week from 24 – 27 September 2013 at the Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld, Bangkok, Thailand. These three powerhouse events successfully attracted 1,734 carbon, clean energy and energy efficiency industry players from 40 countries. The trade fairs also attracted 120 international exhibitors while the conferences featured 146 thought leaders from across the globe.

Clean Energy Expo Asia and Energy Efficiency Asia were officially opened by the Guest of Honour, Mr Prasert Boonchaisuk, Minister of Industry, Thailand, with his message on the importance of developing alternative energy sources, as well as efficient energy use; as a response to our depleting energy stores, which if continued unchecked, will exacerbate the already extreme climate changes and global warming that nations worldwide are facing.

Clean Energy Expo Asia 2013 and Energy Efficiency Asia 2013 is a joint effort between government and private sectors in the promotion and development of alternative energies. This is an important forum for leaders in technology, service, finance, alternative energy technology both in ASEAN and the world and an opportunity for people to exchange knowledge and experiences. It is also an opportunity to promote Thailand’s industry potential and showcase Thai advanced technology both regionally and internationally, said Mr Prasert Boonchaisuk, Minister of Industry for Thailand.

Business pragmatism drives green agenda

The business of and in future energy is the theme for much of this year’s discussions, with conference sessions focused on the hard-nosed issues of measurement, demand side management and operational performance. These were supported by various country case studies from China, India, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and the United States.

Setting the stage with the opening plenary on day 1, the session looked at the policies, challenges and progress-to-date of countries like Thailand, India, Japan and USA, in their bid for energy security. Although different measures were implemented with varying levels of success, each country case study followed a similar story, with the aim to promote energy conservation, stimulate the production of renewable energy, to reduce their reliance on imported fossil fuel. While most started out with government policies and incentives to stimulate the demand, for the successful cases, these have eventually given way to market forces and industry action to carry on the momentum and growth within their green sectors.

To equip industry professionals with the proper tools to ride on this wave of new energy evangelization, sessions like the Energy Efficiency – M&V Workshop on day 1 looked at the fundamentals of the latest international Performance Measurement & Verification Protocol (IPMVP), to help engineers and managers to save energy and costs from implementing energy efficiency projects. While the demand side management session on day 2 gave insights into how countries like India, Thailand and USA are coping with the rapidly growing energy consumption patterns in their country. The technology, plant management and operations track on day 2 also looked at the practical issues of performance verification and optimization, plant safety, high quality measurements and asset management.

Leverage on the huge potential in Energy Efficiency

While much public attention so far has been on the business of renewable energy, the message from the industry seems to be that the next growth paradigm for the green economy lies in energy efficiency.

According to Gil-Hong Kim, Director of Sustainable Infrastructure Division, Regional and Sustainable Development Department, Asian Development Bank, “Energy Efficiency should be an area which Asia also focuses on. Our energy demand can and must be contained through innovation and public policy. ADB aims to work together with Asian governments to change public attitudes towards energy use, by supporting greater demand side energy efficiency improvements. ADB’s study of energy efficiency suggests that implementing energy efficiency measures is much more cost effective than expanding energy generation. With energy efficiency measures investment equivalent to 1 – 4% of energy sector spending, the region could meet as much as 25% of the projected increase in primary energy consumption in developing Asia by 2030.”

In order for its full potential to be realized, Peter du Pont, Vice President, Government & Clean Energy Consulting, Nexant Asia, suggests that Energy Efficiency needs to be viewed as a resource. According to the Asian Development Bank, an estimated US$944 billion of investment is needed in order for Asia to meet its national energy conservation targets by 2020. This represents an attractive and yet relatively untapped market, which can herald the next spurt of growth in Asia, with the right mix of drivers, policies and business mechanism.

The level of discussions among the speakers and the enthusiastic response of the audience were an indication of this burgeoning interest, especially in the financing of energy efficiency. “There has been a great level of discussions here at Energy Efficiency Asia 2013. I think it’s great to be able to really discuss the investor’s perspective as well as the project developer’s perspective. To really understand that we have the same challenges globally, but equally, these are our opportunities. My key message for the participants is to keep the momentum going. The opportunities available are huge and I think we can unlock it with some of what we have heard here,” said Scott Bocskay, Chief Executive, Sustainable Melbourne Fund, Australia.

Gateway to Asia and beyond

The trade fair floor was abuzz with cozy discussions taking place over the three days. Renewable energy and energy management technologies and solutions from Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, Europe, and USA, were on display to international participants, of which more than 60% were from Asia.

Exhibitors were generally pleased with the quality of discussions that took place at the fair. “This is the second year for us at Clean Energy Expo Asia. This time, our objective is to let the industry know more about Mitr Phol’s innovative technologies and management talent especially in the field of bio energy. It has been a rather successful participation for us so far and I believe that we will be back again next year,” said Prasong Pinwiset, Manager-Factory Management, Dan Chang Bio – Energy Co Ltd.

Phichai Tinsuntisook, Chairman, The Federation of Thai Industries Renewable Energy Club, Thailand said: “With a focused show like Clean Energy Expo Asia as a platform for the renewable energy market sector, this will quicken and help Thailand reach the AEDP (Alternative Energy Development Plan) target of 25% use of renewable energy in the total energy demand in Thailand. This is why many of the Renewable Energy Industry Club members chose to exhibit and take part at Clean Energy Expo Asia.”

Visitors also found much to be happy with at the trade fair. “Clean Energy Expo Asia and Energy Efficiency Asia are very informative events with good networking possibilities,” said Shivkumar Methil, Senior Manager – Sales & Marketing, WOG Technologies Pte Ltd, Singapore. Aside from the solutions on showcase, they were also treated to free sessions on the latest available technology at the exhibitors‘ presentation area. “This is a good event to open the renewable energy mind,” said Thanan Sastarasadhit, Sales & Specification Manager, SOCOMEC UPS (Thailand) Limited, Thailand.

“To combat the very real threat posed by the depletion of our energy stores, a concerted effort by governments, businesses and individuals are needed. For any action to be effective, it needs to be able to transcend borders. The real challenge is making these issues and concerns relevant across a wide array of stakeholders. It takes a platform like Clean Energy Expo Asia and Energy Efficiency Asia to provide a common ground, bringing together industry and political leaders in Asia to exchange ideas and create business opportunities that will drive the change needed for energy security in this region,” said Michael Dreyer, Vice President, Asia Pacific, Koelnmesse.

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