KUALA LUMPUR, 26 JANUARY 2023 – Amidst the various intersecting crises of 2020 – especially the total lockdown experienced worldwide due to Covid-19, the National Bureau of ASIAN Research (NBR) in collaboration with Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) through Solar Research Institute (SRI) have brought upon the key side of the climate change issues through the 2022 Pacific Energy Summit (PES) under the theme of “Understanding Southeast Asia’s Vision for Energy and Climate-Secure Indo-Pacific” that was held from 31st October 2022 to 1st November 2022. The objective of the Summit was to engage the high-level stakeholders from government, business, and research in crafting innovative solutions to the Indo-Pacific’s challenge of meeting rising demand for energy while shifting toward a cleaner mix, all in the context of an increasingly complex and competitive regional strategic environment.
Hosted for the first time in Malaysia, the Summit brought together leading academic scientists, researchers, scholars, government agencies, non-government organisations (NGOs), and other stakeholders from various countries including Malaysia to share their experiences and research results on aspects of climate change for Energy and Climate-Secure Indo-Pacific. The welcoming speech was delivered by the President of NBR, Mr. Roy D. Kamhausen and Prof. Datuk Ts. Dr. Hajah Roziah Mohd Janor, the Vice Chancellor of UiTM. The forum began with a perceptive insight of Malaysia’s Role in a Net-Zero Indo-Pacific by YBhg. Puan Noor Afifah Abdul Razak, the Deputy Secretary General of Environment, Ministry of Environment and Water, Malaysia.
On the first day, the panel discussion kicked-off with the topic of “Southeast Asia-Centric Vision for an Energy-Secure Region”. The session was moderated by Ms. Alizan Mahadi from the Institute for Strategic and International Studies and discussed by Mr. Satya Widya Yudha from the National Energy Council, Indonesia and Mr. Zulfikar Yurnaidi from the ASEAN Centre for Energy. The panelists addressed on facilitating cooperative environments for energy security in Southeast Asia and beyond, as to strengthening the Southeast Asia’s energy security by tackling the region’s energy needs, from quality infrastructure for energy integration to more traditional energy trade in an increasingly complex geopolitical region. In the second panel discussion, the discussants examined the prospect of investment in energy transition through a topic “Policies and Partnerships to Maximise Investments in Energy Transitions”. The session was moderated by Ms. Ashley Johnson from NBR, with three panels from different countries, Prof. Ken Koyama from The Institute of Energy Economics, Japan, Ms. Siti Safinah Salleh, the CEO of MyPower Corporation, Malaysia and Mr. Mikkal E. Herberg from University of California, San Diego.
On the second day, the Summit started with an hour of ‘Breakfast Discussion’ by Mr. Masayuki Tanimoto from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, then pursued by the first panel discussion for the second day with topic “Supply Chain Disruptions: The Role for Trade in Energy Security”. In this session, the panelists deliberated on the Southeast Asia’s role in the energy transition as both supplier and consumer of various resources, and the policies that can reduce risk to strengthen regional trade and global supply chains. As evidenced by numerous crises in recent years, disruptions to supply chains have far-reaching impacts on economic and energy security. Traditional fossil fuels play an important role in the trade and geopolitical landscape of Southeast Asia; this will likely remain true for years. At the same time, newer resources, such as the critical minerals needed for the energy transition have created additional chokepoints. The segment was moderated by Mr. Thomas Lutken from the NBR, and Ms. Vandana Hari from the Vanda Insights, Singapore and Ms. Se Hyun AHN from University of Seoul, Korea as the panelists.
The Summit’s final panel discussion focused on path forward for policymakers and stakeholders ASEAN and the wider region on reaching a sustainable future in the coming decades. With the topic of “Beyond 2030: Crafting an Agenda for Sustainable Development” the panelists pulled through the key findings from the previous panels and discussions, where this session encouraged a discussion among the expert participants to identify key stress points, and policies or actions to address them, as Southeast Asia moves towards net zero. The session was moderated by Ms. Clara Gillispie from the NBR and discussed by Assoc. Prof. Ir. Dr. Nofri Yenita Dahlan, the Director of Solar Research Institute (SRI), Malaysia and Ms. Ayu Abdullah, the Executive Director from the Energy Action Partners.
The 2022 Pasific Energy Summit will have significant impact in promoting cross-sector relationships within the Indo-Pacific and thereby supporting how informed energy and environmental policy decisions are made and executed. As part of this process, in-person programming is envisioned as playing an important role in re-establishing critical person-to-person networks in the region. The Summit will culminate in a call to policy action—ensuring that conversations and their findings are extended beyond the program discussions and translated into tangible policy results.
As the world continues its recovery from the Coronavirus, growth in energy demand is returning to pre-pandemic highs, with much of this growth concentrated in the Indo-Pacific. While 2021 saw many countries in the region increasing their commitments to reducing emissions and securing a sustainable future, uneven economic recovery and an energy crisis spurred by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have raised an immediate need for short-term solutions. Though cooperation between countries can help address these conflicting needs of greater energy demand and sustainable energy growth, such collaboration must be considered as part of an evolving geopolitical context, particularly in the Southeast Asia and its relationship to the wider region.