The Top Three Renewable Energy Sources in Southeast Asia

When people think of renewable energy, they usually have wind turbines and solar panels at the top of their minds, with wind turbines often appearing in the media and solar panels being increasingly pushed to the non-commercial consumer’s rooftops.

So, what other information on these popular renewable power sources would be helpful for the general consumer to know?

Is Solar Power Right For You?

Did you know that as an individual consumer, you might not have to depend on installing solar panels on your rooftops to benefit from solar power and its lower energy bills. ? Some eco-conscious electricity suppliers provide solar power from their solar farms and solar storage facilities. However, be mindful that due to the current difficulty in storing energy and the variable solar supply across the globe, some suppliers supplement B2C solar contracts with other so-called “green” energy resources, such as natural gases, which still contribute to the depletion of our Earth’s limited fossil fuels and global warming.

When installing your own solar panels, some countries still offer generous loans, tax exemptions, and returns to invest. However, this initiative has become less available as the technology becomes more widely adopted. Installing your own solar panels can often involve hidden or unplanned maintenance costs to ensure efficiency and extend lifespan. Solar energy might also not be the best idea in certain remote regions where sun exposure is low.

Commercial clients with large rooftop spaces can easily switch to solar at zero cost and at zero risk with better rates than through a green energy supplier using commercial solar PPAs. You can read more on Constant Energy’s commercial solar rooftop power purchase agreements for businesses here.

What You Need To Know About Wind Energy

Did you know that wind is a form of solar energy? It results from the combination of the sun’s uneven heating of the atmosphere, ground irregularities, and the Earth’s rotation. Wind turbines are the most common way of converting kinetic energy from the spinning blades into mechanical energy that can be converted into green electricity. Wind power emits zero carbon and ~95% less CO2 than electricity from gas and ~98% less than from coal. A turbine pays off its lifecycle emissions of CO2 in 6-9 months of operation. It is currently the largest source of renewable energy in the United States.

Wind turbines have become more powerful over time. In 1985, they had a capacity of 0.05 MW. Today’s turbines have a capacity of 3-4 MW onshore and 8-12 MW offshore, meaning that the development focus should be away from valuable residential and agricultural areas. Knowing that double the wind speed can increase the power potential by a factor of eight only encourages the push for offshore installations. While noise pollution is not as much of a problem with recent onshore wind turbines, they can still threaten migrating bird species and the residents’ comfort. In 2016, Inera reported that wind energy accounted for 6% of the world’s renewable energy production.

With Vietnam leading the development of wind power in the region, Thailand has also been developing wind power as an alternative to fossil-based energy. The Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency has studied wind power potential since 1975 and installed 70 wind measurement stations. A map of wind power potential found potential in the Gulf of Thailand and some areas in Petchburi and Doi Intanon.

Introducing Hydropower

Another top green energy power source that the average consumer is sometimes reminded of is the use of water to create sustainable electricity, which involves Hydroelectric technology to harvest hydropower. Simply put, hydropower consists of the production of energy through the accumulation and release of water using a combination of damns and turbines, or through the direct use of turbines where the current flow is strong enough to produce energy. It is also Southeast Asia’s most widely used renewable energy source. Another two lesser-known renewable energy sources with a lot of potential for worldwide sustainability are Biomass and Geothermal Energy.

Electricity Demands in Southeast Asia and Renewable Energy Production

The electricity demand growth in Southeast Asia is among the fastest in the world, at an average rate of 6% per year, but millions still lack access to electricity. The region has set a target to achieve universal access to electricity by 2030. As of 2019, despite Southeast Asia’s immense potential for renewable energy, it met only around 15% of its energy demand with renewable sources, leading to increased air pollution and carbon dioxide emissions. However, some markets are taking measures to support the rapid deployment of solar and wind energy after the initial focus on bioenergy and hydropower, with hydroelectric power quadrupling since 2000. Constant Energy has been a critical player in developing commercial solar power in the region through strategic PPAs and careful targeting of the biggest polluters, such as large factories.

In Southeast Asia, the largest source of renewable energy is driven by hydropower, followed by solar (led by VN with 24% of the country’s total energy production), bioenergy and geothermal, and lastly, wind (led by VN with 5%). provides the below figures:

  • Indonesia’s (40% of the energy consumption for SE Asia) energy mix comprises 60 percent coal, 21 percent oil and gas, 8 percent hydropower, 6 percent bioenergy, 5 percent geothermal, and less than 1 percent wind and solar.
  • The Philippines’ energy mix comprises 55 percent coal, 22 percent oil and gas, 11 percent geothermal, 7 percent hydropower, and 4 percent solar and wind.
  • Vietnam’s energy mix is 30 percent coal, 13 percent oil and gas, 28 percent hydropower, 24 percent solar, and 5 percent wind.
  • Thailand’s energy mix is composed of 67 percent oil and gas, 11 percent coal, 7 percent bioenergy, 6 percent hydropower, 6 percent solar, and 3 percent wind.
  • Malaysia’s energy mix is composed of 47 percent oil and gas, 32 percent coal, 15 percent hydropower, 4 percent solar, and 2 percent bioenergy.
  • Cambodia’s energy mix is about 50 percent renewable— about 44 percent of the total mix comes from hydropower—41 percent coal, and 8 percent oil.
  • Laos’s energy mix comprises 66 percent hydropower, 33 percent fossil fuels, and 1 percent solar.
  • Singapore’s energy mix is composed of 97 percent oil and gas, 2 percent bioenergy, 1 percent coal, and 1 percent solar.

While all the countries in the region have introduced plans to become more sustainable by 2050, there is still a long way to go in meeting the region’s electricity demands with renewable sources. With the growth of solar and wind energy markets, coupled with strategic efforts from companies like Constant Energy, there is hope for a more sustainable future in Southeast Asia.

Multiethnic business people working on sustainable renewable energy project inside office - Green alternative electricity concept