In Southeast Asia, energy sector development has implications for inter-governmental relations for a number of reasons. First, the pursuit of domestic energy goals can affect neighboring countries, as exemplified for instance by the construction of dams for hydropower in shared river systems in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS). Secondly, domestic gas and power systems are expected to be increasingly supported by pipelines and transmission links with other countries, thus opening the possibilities of system integration to meet demand at lower cost. Lastly, with fossil fuels as the primary source of energy supply, problems of environmental degradation as well as of availability (associated in particular with high oil dependency) are doomed to loom large in this part of the world and could be better met through intraregional cooperation.

An integral part of ASEAN’s regional economic cooperation focuses on the energy sector. With the ASEAN Energy Cooperation Agreement signed in 1986, the ASEAN member countries agreed to cooperate on a wider range of energy related issues, with a view to fostering efficient development and use of all forms of energy. Cooperative activities include planning, energy development, conservation, training, security of energy supply and exchange of information.

The importance of ASEAN energy cooperation was reinforced in the ASEAN Vision 2020, arising from the ASEAN Second Informal Summit in December 1997 in Kuala Lumpur. The ASEAN Vision 2020 called for cooperation activities to “establish interconnecting arrangements for electricity, natural gas and water within ASEAN through the ASEAN Power Grid and a Trans-ASEAN Gas Pipeline, and promote cooperation in energy efficiency and conservation, as well as the development of new and renewable energy resources”.

The main mechanisms for energy cooperation in ASEAN is the ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting (AMEM) and the different sub-sector networks and associations that meet at both high and technical or working group level. These are the ASEAN Forum on Coal (AFOC), which is association of the coal industry in the region, the Heads of ASEAN Power Utilities and Authorities, which is an association representing the ASEAN power sector, ASEAN Council on Petroleum (ASCOPE), which is an association representing the oil and gas sector, and the sub-sector networks on renewable energy (NRE-SSN), energy efficiency and conservation (EEC-SSN), regional energy policy and planning (REPP-SSN), and most recently nuclear energy safety (NES-SSN). The agreements resulting from the annual AMEM are contained in the Joint Ministerial Statements, which are translated into programme of projects and activities discussed at the sectoral levels and contained in the meeting reports of the different industry associations and sub-sector networks.

The overall strategic directions of energy cooperation in ASEAN are set out in the ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation (APAEC) 2010-2015 which defines the regional policy objectives, strategies, and action plans for the different sectors represented by the sub-sector networks and industry associations mentioned above, across seven program areas, namely (i) ASEAN Power Grid; (ii) Trans-ASEAN Gas Pipeline; (iii) Coal and Clean Coal Technology; (iv) Renewable Energy; (v) Energy Efficiency and Conservation; (vi) Regional Energy Policy and Planning; and (viii) Civilian Nuclear Energy.

The Jakarta-based ASEAN Centre for Energy, or ACE, was established through an agreement signed by the ASEAN governments in May 1998. ACE’s mandate is to initiate, coordinate and facilitate regional, as well as joint and collective activities on energy. The Centre is headed by an Executive Director and operates under the supervision of the ACE Governing Council, comprising the ASEAN Senior Officials on Energy (SOME) and a representative from the ASEAN Secretariat. Since its establishment, ACE has played an active role in drafting the ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation, as well as facilitating and coordinating the work of the different sub-sector networks and associations in implementing the various programmes under the Plan of Action.

The cooperation between the European Union and ASEAN has been growing since the last thirty years in line with the geopolitical importance and economic integration and enlargement of the two regions. Energy and sustainable development are an important part of the cooperation agenda, through a number of cooperation programmes and projects (such as the ASEAN-EC Energy Management and Training Centre (AEEMTRC), the EC-ASEAN Energy Facility (EAEF), etc.) and driven in particular by high level policy discussions and institutionalized dialogue with ASEAN and more widely within the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM).

The EU‐ASEAN dialogue on Energy was launched in the margins of the ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Energy (SOME) on 22 August 2007 in Singapore. A second dialogue took place in May 2009 in Thailand, followed by a working meeting in June 2009 in Brussels.

The overall objectives of the READI dialogue on Energy are to further enhance EU‐ASEAN Energy co‐operation and to further enhance linkages, trade, investment and economic co‐operation through the preparation and implementation of a package of mutually beneficial policies, programmes and activities designed in particular to promote transition to a low‐carbon economy.

It is expected that the current facility, will not only support dialogues, but will also assist ASEAN in developing its draft policy, plan of actions, development of regulatory framework, etc. , based on ASEAN needs assessment in each of the identified sectors.

The following results are expected from the READI dialogue on Energy:

  • Support to the implementation of the ASEAN Plan of Action on Energy Cooperation (APAEC) 2010‐2015, in particular in the areas of energy efficiency and conservation, biofuel, investment framework, and energy security (including diversification of energy sources and energy infrastructure);
  • Support ASEAN in the use of renewable energy for rural development, regional energy trading, research and development in clean energy production, and exchange of energy policies information, including policy formulation and initiatives.​

Reference documents:

Outputs to date:
  • Presentation on “READI Energy Component Overall Work Plan (OWP) as well as the 1st Year Annual Work Plan (AWP1)” at the Third ASEAN SOME- EU Dialogue on Energy Cooperation in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 4 July 2012 for endorsement;
  • “Seminar on Energy Security, Investment Regulation Framework on Interconnection in ASEAN Economies”, organized back-to-back with AMEM, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 10-11 Sept. 2012 with the participation of 54 ASEAN and EU Gas and Power experts;
  • Production of Seminar’s Proceedings for dissemination;
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  • Presentation on the “Energy Component of the Regional EU-ASEAN Dialogue Instrument (READI)” at the International Workshop on Sustainable Urban Development and Energy Efficiency in Buildings, Da Nang, Vietnam, 12-13 Nov. 2012;
  • Presentation on “EU Experience in Implementing the Interconnection of Power Grid” at the 10th Meeting of ASEAN Power Grid Consultative Committee (APGCC), Brunei Darussalam, 15 Jan. 2013.







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