Reed Smith In-depth

Since the landmark Paris Agreement was inked in December 2015, countries across the globe have prioritised the decarbonisation of the global economy, particularly the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

The Asia Pacific (APAC) region, being the countries in Southeast Asia, East Asia and Oceania which border the Pacific Ocean, represents approximately half of the global population. A vast majority of these countries are heavily dependent on fossil fuels in their energy mix, with the ASEAN1 countries alone collectively being the world’s fourth-largest energy consumer. In recent years, APAC countries have picked up pace in transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy, with China single-handedly overtaking North America and Europe in the production of renewable energy. APAC countries are expected to continue to outpace the rest of the world in developing renewables projects to facilitate the transition away from fossil fuels, towards the goal of net-zero emissions.

The anticipated transition to renewables is expected to be accompanied by a correlating increase in disputes pertaining to both the transition away from fossil fuels and the adoption of cleaner energy. Arbitration is a suitable forum for resolving such disputes, which are often between multinational entities and involve confidential and highly complex technical issues. Given its strategic geographical location within APAC, cultural connections and role as a significant hub for international trade and shipping, Singapore is uniquely placed as a location for resolving energy disputes.

Authors: Kohe Hasan Joyce Fong Sandra Hsin-Ting Wang

Renewable projects in APAC

The United Nations describes renewable energy as “energy derived from natural sources that are replenished at a higher rate than they are consumed” and lists the following as common sources of renewable energy: solar energy, wind energy, geothermal energy, hydropower, ocean energy and bioenergy.2

According to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, 56% of the world’s energy will be generated in the APAC region by 2030. Of this amount, 43% is expected to be generated from renewable sources.3 If all goes to plan, the amount of clean energy generated in the region will scale up significantly in the next three to five years as major facilities across the region commence operations. Significant renewable energy projects in the pipeline include:4

  • Ubol Ratana Dam in Thailand (expected to be the world’s largest floating hydro-solar farm)
  • La Gan Offshore Wind Farm in Vietnam (expected to be the first large-scale offshore wind farm in Vietnam)
  • Australia-Asia PowerLink (the world’s largest solar plant and battery storage facility, with the generated renewable energy to be transported from Australia to Singapore via the world’s longest (4,200km) submarine power cable)