Southeast Asia's Growing Demand for Coal
Much of the developed and parts of the developing world are rapidly pursuing green energy. These initiatives are anticipated to be the future of power production and help offset climate change.
The pressure to adapt is so great, that even the world’s largest coal consumer, China, is planning massive rollbacks of coal in the energy sector. They are replacing this lost energy with cleaner alternatives.
However, as the energy giant shifts away from coal, Southeast Asia is expected to pick up the slack. Southeast Asia has huge potential for growth. It is thought to be that by 2040, energy demand in the region will grow around 66%. Much of this will be propped up by coal.
Cheap coal price heavily drives the demand for coal as a fuel source. The largest producers in the world are Indonesia and Australia, both close to Southeast Asia. A lack of specialized technical labor is also an issue. For Southeast Asian nations, coal is an easy way to have unskilled laborers produce much needed electricity and industrial capacity.
This raises concerns over the regions ability to meet the Paris Agreements stipulations on renewable energy. It also threatens to leave a growing region underdeveloped in the future.
It should be noted that this figure also accounts for more developed nations like Singapore and oil heavy nations like Brunei, suggesting that coal consumption in poorer nations will be even more substantial. Predictions are not entirely bleak though. Countries are adjusting in lieu of the Paris Agreement and international concerns.
Optimistically speaking, it is possible to ween the region off coal. However, it will require hard choices from Australia and Indonesia about coal production. It will also call upon investment from other nations; without foreign capital, it is unlikely the various regimes in power will invest heavily in green power in the near future.