Documenting Southeast Asia's Energy Transition: Insights from SIPET’s Project Mapping Tool

20 Dec 2023
Authors: Mrutunjaya Nanda, Marc Tagub, and Peter du Pont
Authoring Organisation: Asia Clean Energy Partners
Posted At: 12-2023

Introduction: The Context for SIPET

There are hundreds of donor-funded projects on the Energy Transition across Southeast Asia, with tens of billions of dollars of funding, and yet there is very little visibility and coordination across these initiatives. This results in inefficient funding and uncoordinated delivery of technical assistance.

The Southeast Asia Information Platform for the Energy Transition (SIPET) was designed by the Clean, Affordable and Secure Energy for Southeast Asia (CASE) project as an open-source, one-stop platform for information and knowledge exchange about the energy transition in the region. SIPET was launched in September 2022, and one of its most useful features is the Project Mapping Tool, which now showcases a total of 217 donor-funded clean energy projects across Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam, representing at least $8.7 billion of donor technical assistance funding and investment.

The SIPET Project Mapping Tool is designed to assist energy-sector stakeholders across the region to see the bigger picture of energy transition in Southeast Asia as evidenced by donor-funded technical assistance and investment projects. By mapping the energy transition projects in the region, the tool helps to address the current gaps and overlaps in donor activities. This can support stakeholders to establish more coherence of energy transition programs in the region and build more effective and inclusive partnerships.

SIPET members have contributed to the hundreds of projects featured in the tool. During 2023, a large number of projects were uploaded to the Project Mapping Database as a result of SIPET’s partnership with the Southeast Asia Energy Transition Partnership (ETP), which provided access to their database of information about energy transition projects in the region.

Highlights from the Project Mapping Tool

Here are a few facts based on the data on the Project Mapping Tool:

- Indonesia Dominates: Indonesia has predominant share of funding ($5.5 billion of $8.7 billion) for the 217 projects in the database. This fact underscores Indonesia’s pivotal role in the region’s energy transition, potentially serving as a model for other nations in similar contexts.

- Diverse Donor Involvement: The database includes projects from 23 donor agencies, illustrating a strong donor commitment to collaborative funding in the region, with the Asian Development Bank playing a leading role. This variety in funding sources reflects the diverse priorities and strategies among the donor community.

- Importance of Risk Management: The majority of the projects in the database focus on increasing investment in renewable energy, which aligns with the region’s goals under the Paris Agreement. And nearly half of the projects aim to reduce investment risks, with a significant portion focusing on renewable energy and energy efficiency. About a quarter of the projects actively focus on reforming energy sector policies.

- Assistance Beyond Funding: More than two-thirds of the projects in the database offer technical support, highlighting the importance of knowledge and expertise transfer in the energy sector. Financial assistance, including grants and loans, complements this technical aid, addressing different facets of project needs. Over a quarter of the projects offer financial assistance, including grants and loans.

- Dynamic Project Life Cycles: The distribution of projects in the database reflects an ongoing, dynamic process in the region's energy transition efforts. As of June 2023, just under half (46%) of these projects were completed, 37% were in progress, and 17% were in the initial stages or undergoing the tendering process.

Recommendations

Based on our experience with desk research and direct donor outreach as we developed the SIPET Project Mapping Tool, we can make the following recommendations:

- Strengthen Data-Sharing Mechanisms: It is essential to enhance data integration and sharing across different organizations and stakeholders for better project visibility and alignment.

- Foster Regional Collaboration: Leadership is needed to enhance further collaboration among Southeast Asian countries as they implement their NDCs and energy transition projects.  Such collaboration should, at a minimum, include active and dynamic sharing of best practices and lessons learned from successful projects, especially in funding and policy implementation.

- Expand Technical Assistance: There is a need to increase the focus on capacity building and technical assistance to ensure that countries have the necessary skills and knowledge to implement and sustain energy transition projects.

- Broaden Donor Engagement: It is important to actively engage a wide range of donors, including private sector entities, to diversify funding sources and bring different perspectives and expertise to the table.

- Monitoring and Evaluation: Given the explosion of donor-funded clean energy and climate projects across Southeast Asia, it is important for donors to coordinate and share information about their project monitoring and evaluation frameworks. Only with such cooperation and wide access to the results of this research, will it be possible to assess and measure the impact and effectiveness of programs.  And these sorts of evaluations can be a critical input to help guide future funding and policy decisions.

- Policy Advocacy: It is important to support and intensify efforts in policy advocacy, particularly in countries lagging behind in policy reforms, to create an enabling environment for renewable energy investments.

The next batch of project data will be uploaded to the SIPET Project Mapping Tool in January 2024, and this will include inputs from ETP,  a key partner of SIPET. With these additions, the Project Mapping Tool will feature more than 300 projects, and the new set of data will include philanthropic initiatives on the Energy Transition in the region.

Donors or other SIPET members interested in learning more about SIPET generally, or who wish to contribute to the SIPET Project Mapping Tool, can contact info@sipet.org

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Mrutunjaya (“MJ”) Nanda leads the Technology and Markets Team of Asia Clean Energy Partners.

Marc Tagub is Team Leader for the Knowledge Management and Stakeholder Engagement Team of Asia Clean Energy Partners.

Peter du Pont is the firm’s Co-Founder and Co-CEO.  All three are consultants to the CASE Project.