Thailand’s approach to increasing the proportion of renewable energy within their energy mix has been slow and gradual. However, a transformation within the Thai energy sector is expected to change this. Thailand currently has a short-term target, which aims to increase renewable energy to 20.3% by 2022. As of 2015, the majority of the energy produced within the country was natural gas (64%), followed by coal (20%) and renewable energy (8%). Thailand’s rapid growth coupled with a depletion in their supplies of natural gas has meant that a diversification of the Thai energy sector must inevitably occur.
Despite the majority of Thailand’s energy generation coming from natural gas, the country consumes mainly petroleum products (54%). This is likely due to the large amounts of petroleum imported into the country, coupled with a recent reduction in its price. Despite generating enough energy to be self-sufficient, Thailand likely relies on imports and exports as a result of their highly dependent energy mix and depleting supplies. This lack of diversity within their energy system and depleting supply of fossil fuels reserves will present Thailand with some future challenges regarding the security and sustainability of their energy system. In an attempt to minimise these problems before they arise, the Thai Government has developed a number of plans in order to diversify their power sector.
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Indonesia’s energy sector is making a tremendous transformation to complete energy independence, despite unique challenges of having the world’s fourth largest population spread over thousands of islands. Indonesia, formerly an oil-exporting nation and OPEC member, has long been reliant on oil in its energy mix but since the decline in its oil reserves it has been importing vast quantities of oil to make up the shortfall – instead of utilising its vast local energy resources. Indonesia has enormous reserves of coal and natural gas and is the world’s largest coal exporter. In order to secure its energy supply, Indonesia is aiming to significantly reduce its oil consumption and replace it with local energy resources including coal, gas and renewables. It has set ambitious targets for this transformation and although renewables are not the only focus in these energy targets, the renewable energy sector is likely to experience a period of growth as a result of it.
Indonesia has made commitments to reduce it greenhouse gas emissions and is focusing on the largest source of emissions currently – the land use and forestry sector. However, the share from the energy sector is expected increase and by 2030 it will be the biggest source of national emissions. There is clearly an opportunity to increase the use of renewables to mitigate these emissions.Growth in renewables in Indonesia will be primarily focused on geothermal energy and hydro. The wind and solar industries are still in their infancy. Indonesia has the resources to attract developers from within the country and internationally, particularly in the geothermal, hydro and bioenergy fields. Total investment in renewable energy in 2016’s first quarter came to $327 million and this will likely increase as the industry further develops.
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Through early investment in renewable energy, South Australia has positioned itself as a leader within the renewable energy field. The state distinguishes itself from others as although there are significant reserves of fossil fuels present, their energy mix is not dependent on coal. South Australia’s energy generation is lead by natural gas, which is closely followed by wind power. The current renewable energy target in South Australia aims to increase the state’s renewable energy production to 50% by 2025 and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. The state has also committed to an investment target of $10 billion in low carbon generation by 20251. This transition to clean energy has already begun to take place with the closure of a number coal-fired power plants in Port Augusta. As mentioned in the previous report, state wide blackouts have occurred in South Australia resulting from too many intermittent systems coupled with a severe storm and subsequently, a heatwave. This has resulted in some scepticism towards other states in Australia transitioning toward renewable energy. Despite this scepticism, the South Australian Government has implemented a number of programs and plans to promote investment in the renewable energy sector. Although recently South Australia has received criticism, hopefully with the continued development and research into renewable energy, the state is able to overcome these problems and achieve their long-term targets.
South Australia’s current energy mix consists of a large proportion of renewable energy, especially when compared to other Australian states. The recent decline in the generation of fossil fuels has positioned South Australia as the renewable energy
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The renewable energy industry in Australia has been experiencing rapid growth recently and has been driving change in an energy system that has long been reliant on fossil fuels. However, in a nation where mining and fossil fuel production are some of the biggest and most influential industries, the renewable energy sector is faced with many challenges.
Lately, there has been a lot of political debate about Australia’s energy future, and the role that renewables should play in it, as politicians look to improve affordability and reliability of supply. The industry has experienced uncertainty about the country’s long-term energy and climate change policy direction, considering how much it has varied with the many changes in leadership over the past decade.Thankfully, there are currently policies and measures in place to ensure that renewable energy will continue to contribute to the energy mix into the future including the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target, which will see electricity generation from renewables almost double in the next few years.
Australia has an excellent renewable energy resource, with the greatest potential in wind and solar. Hydropower has long been responsible for the largest share of renewable generation but now the wind and solar industries are growing rapidly. To date, onshore wind has been the leader in the new renewables sector in Australia however a promising large-scale solar industry is starting to emerge as investors and utilities look to diversify their generation portfolios.
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Washington, Hawaii and Iowa are three states that have very different landscapes, natural resources and economies. As a consequence, they all have very different energy and climate change policies and electricity generation portfolios.
Washington state already has an relatively clean generation portfolio compared to other states, thanks mostly to its enormous hydroelectric generation capacity. Washington’s energy policy is generally supporting of renewables and it is considered one of the nation’s “greenest” states, with a renewable energy target, caps on emissions from polluters and the possibility of the nation’s first carbon tax, which will lead to further growth in the wind and biomass fields especially.
Hawaii’s energy use has long been centred on costly imported fossil fuels but the state has made outstanding commitments to switch to a cleaner energy supply. Hawaii is working towards reducing the state’s reliance on energy imports and increasing the utilisation of their abundant renewable resources and it is the first state to set a legal deadline for becoming 100% renewable.
Iowa again differs to the other states studied. It has an impressive wind power industry and in 2015 over 30% of the state’s electricity generation came from wind – the highest percentage of any state. Iowa’s renewable energy targets were exceeded many years ago and have not been updated however the renewables sector continues to grow.
The unique combination of resources and economic priorities in each state has led to varying outcomes in the renewable energy sector and it will be interesting to observe how the industry changes and grows in these states. To continue to read the full USA, Washington, Hawaii, and Iowa Report as part of our Research Series “The Future is Renewable: Targets and Policies by Country”, please click “Read More”.Read More