How BIMP-EAGA Is Moving toward Energy Security

Date Published
April 15, 2020
Workers log data as steam escapes from drilled holes at a geothermal power plant in Indonesia. Renewable energy like geothermal power can help BIMP-EAGA secure its energy supply for the long term. Photo exclusively licensed to Asian Development Bank until 2022.

BIMP-EAGA has abundant energy resources, both conventional and renewable. Developing these resources is key to securing energy supply for the long term.

BIMP-EAGA was established in 1994 to spur development in remote and less developed areas in the four participating Southeast Asian countries. Since then, the subregion’s economy has been expanding. In 2017, its gross domestic product grew 5.7% versus the previous year. Energy demand is expected to surge as the subregion continues to develop.

BIMP-EAGA needs massive infrastructure investments for power generation, transmission, and distribution.

Energy connectivity also has to be made more inclusive in the remote and less developed areas of the subregion that still do not have access to electricity.

BIMP-EAGA also needs to diversify and optimize energy resources and shift to clean energy to support its green growth plans.

Here is how BIMP-EAGA is securing its long-term energy supply.

Build generation and transmission projects

The subregion is planning to undertake interconnection, power generation, and transmission projects.

One of the priority projects it has completed is the Trans-Borneo Power Grid Sarawak–West Kalimantan Interconnection Project, the first between Indonesia and Malaysia. It was commissioned and energized in 2016. The project built a 275-kilovolt grid-to-grid transmission line between Sarawak in Malaysia and West Kalimantan in Indonesia on the island of Borneo. The project is estimated to benefit 8,000 households and cut power costs by $0.18 per kilowatt-hour.

The project is considered a model for future power grid interconnections in the subregion and paves the way toward realizing the ASEAN Power Grid.

BIMP-EAGA has seven priority energy projects worth more than $2 billion under Vision 2025. These include the North Kalimantan Power Grid Interconnection Project in Indonesia; Limbang Hydro Project 1 (Sarawak–Sabah Interconnection) in Malaysia; Limbang Hydro Project 2 (Sarawak–Sabah Interconnection); Limbang Hydro Project 3 (Sarawak–Sabah Interconnection); Lawas Hydro Project (Sabah–Sarawak Interconnection); Visayas–Mindanao Interconnection Project in the Philippines; and the Mindanao Transmission Backbone Upgrading in the Philippines.

Also on the drawing board is a Borneo–Mindanao power interconnection project, which involves 12 power grid interconnection projects, and an interconnection project between the state of Sabah in Malaysia and the province of Palawan in the Philippines to be funded by the Asian Development Bank. The Sabah–Palawan project is one of the 16 priority projects of the ASEAN Power Grid.

Tap renewable energy

BIMP-EAGA is also broadening cooperation in renewable energy, which can benefit lagging coverage areas and help reduce greenhouse gases at the same time. An example is the Trans-Borneo Power Grid, which enables Sarawak to export excess hydropower to West Kalimantan, resulting in 400,000 tonnes in carbon dioxide emission reduction annually.

BIMP-EAGA countries are exploring ways to tap into sources of renewable energy, which are attracting more investments as the cost of renewables continue to decline. The subregion is rich in natural gas, coal, hydropower, solar, bio-mass, wind, and geothermal energy.

Improve energy efficiency

Enhancing energy efficiency and conservation at both demand and supply sides also increase energy supply.

BIMP-EAGA has identified pilot projects where energy efficiency and conservation initiatives will be implemented under the Green Cities Initiative. The initiative includes the following cities: Bandar Seri Begawan in Brunei Darussalam; Kendari, Tomohon, and Pontianak in Indonesia; Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, and Labuan in Malaysia; and General Santos City and Davao City in the Philippines.