In Asia, renewables bandwagon can’t overtake thermal power, says Fitch
MANILA -Thermal power will continue to dominate in Asia as the world’s largest continent moves to gobble half of the globe’s electricity requirements in the coming years, according to Fitch Solutions.
The think tank said thermal power, which consists of coal, natural gas and oil, would account for more than 50 percent of Asia’s power mix by 2032. It said growing markets would specifically resort to the reopening of carbon-emitting coal power plants to serve domestic demand.
“Supporting the region’s growing electricity demand will be a growing power sector, which will still experience conventional thermal power dominance,” Fitch Solutions said.
It added markets would be able to increase generation in the thermal power sector by “increasing the fuel feedstock required and increasing operational capacities.”
Fitch Solutions predicted Asia’s power consumption growth to average about 3.5 percent annually in the next 10 years, ballooning to 18,406 terawatt-hours (TWh) from 13,073 TWh in 2022.
China and India, which are expected to contribute the most to the region’s growth, would account for 69 percent and 17 percent, respectively, of the projected consumption increase with their intensive power needs.
While Fitch Solutions predicted more investments in nonhydropower renewables, such as solar and wind, the growth trajectory would not be enough to overtake conventional thermal power generation.
But as Asia becomes more exposed to volatile energy prices, the region would eventually tackle investments in solar and wind power.
Still, Fitch Solutions noted that nonhydropower renewables would not be able to meet the rapid increase in power demand “due to challenges brought on by the technologies’ intermittencies and limited energy storage developments.”
In the Philippines, coal remains the country’s biggest source of power at 57 percent, while renewables are only at 21 percent, data from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis showed.
The Department of Energy aims to increase the share of renewables in the Philippine energy mix to 35 percent by 2030 and 40 percent by 2040.
—Meg J. Adonis INQ