JSAPMDD members from Indonesia and the Philippines met in Bali, Indonesia from November 15 to 16 for a study workshop on the ASEAN Energy Policy. The workshop aimed to develop a collective understanding, analysis and critique of the ASEAN Energy Policy as well as to take stock of how the policy relates to the individual country energy policies of ASEAN member states, beginning with Philippines and Indonesia. The results of the study workshop will be the basis for the initial draft of a JSAPMDD Paper on the ASEAN Energy Policy which will then serve as resource for country and regional campaigning efforts.
Fabby Tumiwa of the Institute for Essential Services Reform gave a presentation on ASEAN Energy Cooperation. He said that the ASEAN Energy Cooperation and the ASEAN Energy Action Plan is part of the ASEAN economic community blueprint, which aims to turn the ASEAN into a single market and production base for goods and services. In order to achieve this objective, it is necessary to build infrastructures and ensure sufficient energy and industrial capacities.
Fabby then discussed the ASEAN Power Grid, its history and impacts. He said that large-scale or mega infrastructure projects usually create environmental impacts on sensitive ecosystem areas as well as social impacts like landgrabbing and displacements. He said that the ASEAN Power Grid also enhances the development of power generation projects such as hydropower in the Mekong region and fossil fuels in Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia. Another impact is the commercialization of natural resources. He also pointed out that the commodification of electric power will affect equity and access to energy.
Fabby proceeded to discuss the Trans ASEAN Gas Pipeline (TAGP) which was signed in 2002 and envisions an evolutionary process that builds upon existing national grids and bilateral pipeline connections "to ensure greater security of gas supply at a gas price that is competitive to alternative fuels within member countries."
Tackling the impacts and consequences, he said TAGP will exacerbate the risk of ASEAN countries as natural gas suppliers. He also said that TAGP has costly infrastructure, pointing out that land acquisition is getting more expensive. He added that the TAGP pushes ASEAN to be more dependent on natural gas and undermines energy efficiency. It promotes fossil fuels rather than renewable energy. He noted that financing for the TAGP could instead be used for renewable energy.
Manjette Lopez of the Freedom from Debt Coalition then gave her reaction to Fabby's presentation and proceeded to discuss additional inputs. A plenary discussion then ensued as the group looked into declarations by the ASEAN concerning energy security, ensuring the right to energy and equitable distribution and use of energy resources, and modalities.
The discussions ended with a resolution to conduct another workshop on the ASEAN economic integration plan as well as the ASEAN energy policy, possibly in Jakarta or Manila in March next year.