Advancing Human Security and Community Resilience

Focus Area: Climate Action & Sustainable Communities
Regional Energy Management Initiative

15 November 2021

Energy management technologies represent significant near-term opportunities

Southeast Asian markets face a dichotomy of balancing economic growth while maintaining emission targets to ensure environmental sustainability. Energy efficiency enables the commercial and industrial sectors to consume less energy while optimising operations; in other words, reducing wasted energy. While we transition to an increasingly technology-centered present, most of our smart appliances and energy consumption habits are affecting the stability of our electrical grid. Demand-side management entails deploying low-cost, scalable technologies to shift energy consumption throughout the day to optimise for cost and maximise emissions reductions, reduce overall peak demand.

A win-win solution for all

For grid operators, electricity is typically heavily subsidised and profitability can actually improve as demand response is cheaper than any other source of power generation. Distributable renewables have also dropped below the price of coal in most markets and there is now more opportunity to use lower priced options at the grid.

For consumers, both commercial and residential, electricity cost is lowered. With technology and tools, there are insights and control over usage behaviour. In emerging markets and for those without reliable power, demand-side response allows for more secure energy flow into homes and decreases the likelihood of power outages.

Better energy management reduces greenhouse gas emissions, cuts demand for energy generation, and lowers energy costs. Improving energy efficiency is the most immediate and cost-effective way of reducing fossil fuel consumption.

Philanthropic capital as an enabler

Energy management has not yet been adopted widely in Southeast Asia but yet, is a low hanging fruit in terms of being able to make real climate impact quickly. There is a lack of market familiarity with the solutions and conventional sources of financing are not forthcoming. Early stage support is critical to catalyse development and to create a snowball effect.

Philanthropy brings capital upfront, when private sector or other forms of support are not yet available because the risk is too high, and this is the valuable role that philanthropic capital plays, to help unlock scalable opportunities. It allows for demonstration projects, to prove out business models and to show stakeholders why this makes sense for them. After which, various other forms of capital can be crowded-in to scale.