Fossil-fuels built the world that we all currently enjoy, especially in the western hemisphere, throughout the industrial revolution. It is only right that we allow developing countries to enjoy the luxuries that we once enjoyed when it comes to energy generation.
Renewable energy technology is becoming increasing cheaper with every year that passes. Since 2010, the cost of solar panels have reduced a staggering 73% and the cost of wind turbines have reduced 23% during the same period.
It is understandable as to why countries and governments are considering using alternatives to fossil-fuels, especially as the cost of building renewable projects have decreased dramatically over the past eight years.
However, governments should not lose sight of the types of energy that is fundamental for their countries and economies to grow. Only strong fossil-fuel baseload power, such as oil, gas and coal, will ensure that you have a reliable 24/7 power supply.
Renewables are a great avenue to pursue for off-grid solutions, but when governments are considering the future and stability of their country’s power supply, there should be no second-guessing the success of fossil-fuels. Especially with reductions in emissions with super-critical power plants emitting significantly less emissions than their prehistoric predecessors.
Southeast Asia alone has over US$120 billion pledged towards building new coal power plants across the continent, but there are concerns that cheaper renewable technology will scupper their future success.
The International Energy Agency has stated that coal is the fastest-growing energy source in Southeast Asia through to 2040. But, they have also predicted that solar plants will be cheaper than coal in Vietnam by 2027, Indonesia by 2028 and the Philippines by 2029.
It is a matter of fact that renewables will inevitably become cheaper than coal or fossil-fuel projects. But it should be remembered that a strong baseload of electricity is the only way for developing countries to lift their citizens out of poverty, as renewable energy is too unreliable to create the supply for an ever increasing population in the developing world.
And the only way to create a strong baseload is by using fossil-fuels, of which Southeast Asia has an abundance of resources.