to develop their businesses growth in sustainable ways amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Informa Markets, an organiser for the ASEAN SUSTAINABLE ENERGY WEEK (ASE), ASEAN’s largest and most comprehensive renewable energy, environmental and energy efficiency exhibition, in collaboration with the Joint Graduate School of Energy and Environment King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi (JGSEE), organised a Webinar on “Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on the ASEAN Energy Sector” brain storming ideas from experts in the energy industry to move the energy and renewable energy business forward to the future after the global resolution of the COVID-19 crisis.
Dr. Twarath Sutabutr, Inspector General to Ministry of Energy, expressed an interesting point of view, saying that, “The current COVID-19 crisis has created a broadly negative impact, resulting in a drastic fall in energy prices and a direct impact on renewable energy. Although the government has a policy to move forward to sustainable energy use, amid falling oil prices, it inevitably affects the renewable energy sector. Yet we expect that after recovering from the COVID- 19 crisis, renewable energy will be in focus again. Therefore, the slowing down of alternative energy activity is a period of learning to adapt to the changes under the new normal living. Certainly, the energy sector should take this opportunity to development the digital-driven age with its use of technology and innovation.”
“WFH (work from home), today is a new way of life that we call a ‘New Normal’, resulting in declining energy demand and dramatic fall of the price of crude oil in the world market. The demand for electricity and energy consumption globally decreased 25% on average in the first quarter of 2020. The energy sector should use this opportunity to adapt themselves. The decline in energy prices will cause some delay to renewable energy plans. However, in the long run, the development of renewable energy is still important in every country, including Thailand and throughout ASEAN where countries are moving towards sustainability. During this period, it is a good opportunity to develop various resources for learning about renewable energy development that is efficient in order to keep up with global changes going forward.”
Dr. Twarath added that although this crisis may affect demand for renewable energy, the Thai government will continue implementing its Alternative Energy Development Plan (AEDP 2018) for 2018-2037, which calls for Thailand to generate 30% renewable energy of total energy generation within 2037 as the ultimate goal, though some plans may need to be adjusted to reflect the new circumstances.
Mr. Peter du Pont, Managing Partner, Asia Clean Energy Partners Ltd and Asia Regional Coordinator, Private Financing Advisory Network (PFAN), said, “The energy business is essential. As the global epidemic crisis has negatively impacted the economy and financial status of many businesses, over 600,000 workers in the energy industry in the United States have been laid off, with 850,000 expected to be unemployed in the energy industry within July. However, energy experts do not believe that this business will permanently decline because it is a business that is essential to every industry and every country. Therefore, various energy businesses should try to preserve human resources and develop the workforce to wait until the situation begins to resolve, so that businesses will be able to move forward right away after the recovering crisis.”
In order to support the business in the midst of difficult conditions, Mr. du Pont advised the business sector to try to manage their finance efficiently by focusing on the business plan in gradual steps to sustain the business and maintain the necessary units. This may need to be negotiated with current investors and call for clear communications both inside and outside the organisation. Moreover, businesses should take this period to develop human resources, learn technologies that can modify energy generation, and look for new opportunities to wait for businesses and economies recover after the pandemic has been resolved.
"Energy is essential. Even if the oil price is reduced, once the crisis is relieved, the global economy will recover again next year. The obstacles will pass. Businesses must not stop moving towards the digital era and adopting innovations through digital platforms. There will be many opportunities that are open to the business sector, especially for energy businesses to grow sustainably in the future," Mr. du Pont added.
Mr. Sanchai Noombunnam, Deputy Managing Director to Informa Markets Co., Ltd, noted that, “The overall COVID-19 situation in Thailand has slowed to a satisfactory level for all parties. With the cooperation of people in adjusting to a new normal way of living, we’re moving in the right direction.”
“Against this background, Informa Markets, a leader in business exhibitions and negotiation platforms at international level with over 550 events organised successfully globally, is delighted to join forces with private and government partners such as the Energy Ministry, Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, and ABB, to organise ASEAN SUSTAINABLE ENERGY WEEK 2020 (ASE 2020), ASEAN’s largest & most comprehensive renewable energy, environmental and energy efficiency exhibition, from Wednesday, September 16 to Friday, September 18, 2020, at Bangkok International Trade & Exhibition Centre (BITEC) Bangna.”