Current RE Policies, Targets in SE Asia Can Generate 1.7 Mn Jobs by 2030

The Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) in its latest guide estimated that, if achieved, the current renewable energy policies and targets in Southeast Asia can generate 1.7 million jobs by 2030.

November 04, 2020. By Manu Tayal

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The Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) in its latest guide estimated that, if achieved, the current renewable energy policies and targets in Southeast Asia can generate 1.7 million jobs by 2030.

Moreover, for every USD 10 million invested in renewable energy and energy efficiency, it is estimated 2 to 2.5 times more jobs, globally, are created than investing the same amount into the fossil fuel industry, added SEforALL in its report.

It further said, amidst ongoing impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, Southeast Asian countries can jumpstart their economic recovery and advance the region’s clean energy transition by increasing investment in clean energy.

The SEforALL in its report ‘Recover Better with Sustainable Energy Guide for Southeast Asian Nations’ revealed that, Southeast Asia has the opportunity to become a global sustainable energy hub and build on strong progress in closing remaining energy access gaps, improving energy efficiency and increasing deployment of renewable energy.

However, the guide also highlighted the potential impact of the pandemic to stall or even reverse strong regional sustainable energy progress and why countries should prioritize investing in sustainable energy as part of their recovery plans in order to create jobs, drive economic growth and increase resilience.

The report further added that this investment will also support achieving Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7) - access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030.

Although, the report appreciated Southeast Asia for doing well in closing electricity access gaps, significant efforts are still needed to connect remote populations and to close clean cooking access gaps.

However, it suggested that the clean cooking challenge remains an elusive issue for the region, with 218 million people still without access today.

It further added that this investment also makes economic sense for countries. By acting on the enabling measures put forward in the Recover Better guide, they can benefit from increased GDP. If countries in SE Asia invest USD 27 billion annually to achieve the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Renewable Energy target of 23 percent by 2025, it is estimated it will create an added annual GDP of USD 25 billion.

Increasing investments can further enhance and strengthen regionalization of upstream and downstream manufacturing value chains in the region and elevate the region’s status in the global transition. An ambitious Recover Better strategy will also help create new jobs.

Commenting on the development, Damilola Ogunbiyi, CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All and Co-Chair of UN-Energy, said “COVID-19 has changed the world as we know it. The booming economic growth story of Southeast Asia has been put on hold by the ongoing pandemic. To reignite growth, countries should seize this unique, once in a generation opportunity to ‘Recover Better’ by investing in sustainable energy for all as they rebuild their economies from the impact of the pandemic.”

“Clean energy access will unleash a range of economic, employment, commercial, health, and gender benefits to Southeast Asian countries and their citizens,” she added.

Speaking on the role of Southeast Asia in the global energy transition, the ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE) said, “ASEAN has tripled the renewables installed capacity since 2005, and it will keep increasing due to the tremendous potential, policy support and the rising investment.”

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