Diversification of Energy Supply: Prospects for Emerging Energy Sources

Diversification of Energy Supply: Prospects for Emerging Energy Sources / Michael M.D. Ross. Asian Development Bank, Aug. 2014, 66 p. (ADB Economics Working Paper Series n° 403)


Author’s abstract :

Asia’s burgeoning energy demand has stimulated interest in photovoltaics, wind power, and unconventional gas (shale gas, tight gas, coal-bed methane, and coal-mine methane). For each of these, the resource, current status, future prospects, environmental implications, investment and infrastructure requirements, and risks are examined. Shale gas has revolutionized North American gas supply, but may develop slowly in Asia due to challenging geological conditions, lack of geological data, dense populations, and pipeline and service industry limitations. In the People’s Republic of China (PRC), with technically recoverable resources estimated at 20 gigatons of oil equivalent (20% of the world total), significant production may start around 2017–2020, followed 5 years later by India and possibly Pakistan, which have much smaller resources. Even by 2035, unconventional gas is unlikely to supply more than 4%–8% of primary energy in the PRC, India, and Indonesia. Environmental concerns include methane emissions during combustion and production, water and land requirements, and water contamination. The solar resource is excellent across developing Asia; the wind resource is strong in Afghanistan, the PRC, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and Viet Nam. Levelized costs of electricity are higher for wind and photovoltaics than for domestic gas and coal, and low-cost hydro and nuclear, although by 2020 to 2030 the renewables will beat imported gas and coal, and higher-cost nuclear and hydro. To supply around 10% of developing Asia’s electricity in 2035, an investment of $900 billion would be required for wind and $1.4 trillion for photovoltaics, excluding infrastructure upgrades. The PRC and India are already world leaders in wind and photovoltaics.

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