Energy resources

This photo taken on 22 September 2021 shows fishermen on their boat as smoke rises from chimneys at the Suralaya coal power plant in Cilegon. (Ronald Siagian/AFP)

In Indonesia, Chinese financing for coal-fired power plants grows faster than that for renewables

On the one hand, China’s potential in helping Indonesia make the clean energy transition has been spoken about, but on the other, China continues to be a big player in perpetuating non-renewable energy use such as in coal-fired power plants. Looking ahead, can they be a larger contributor in Indonesia’s efforts to derive 23% of Indonesia’s primary energy needs from renewable sources by 2025? Malaysian academics Guanie Lim and Goh Chun Seng tell us more.
A family waits for their food to be served at a restaurant in Keelung, Taiwan, 23 May 2022. (Ann Wang/Reuters)

Taiwanese art historian: The five elements of cooking in the olden days

Being his mother’s good helper in the kitchen for many years, Taiwanese art historian Chiang Hsun got to experience cooking with firewood, charcoal and of course the everyday natural gas. He is convinced that a different fire and stove begets a different flavour in food. Taiwan today is fortunate to have access to fire at the flick of a switch but this could all change. Lucky thing for Chiang, some firewood is all he needs to make his favourite scorched rice snack.
A man walks near a coal-fired power plant in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, China, 27 November 2019. (Jason Lee/File Photo/Reuters)

Ukraine war driving up coal prices in China

Following a nationwide power shortage, China moved to rein in coal prices starting in October 2021. But experts reveal that prices have become a huge problem again this year, as imports grow pricier due to the war in Ukraine and regulations such as the price cap prove inefficient.
The Bakun Dam in 2009. (Wikimedia)

Building dams in Sarawak: Can China and Malaysia ensure sustainable hydropower development?

ISEAS academic Tham Siew Yean notes that it is a win-win situation for Sarawak and China to co-develop dams and produce hydropower for domestic use and export. However, more can be done to safeguard environmental sustainability standards, especially if China means to change its image as a sustainability laggard.
Pedestrians walk in front of an electronic quotation board displaying share prices of the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Tokyo, Japan, on 6 January 2022. (Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP)

Can a sliding Japanese yen survive the Fed's interest rate hike?

The Japanese yen has been on a prolonged decline and is unlikely to see an upside given the Japanese central bank’s persistence with its ultra-loose monetary policy. As a result, Japan’s trade balance is worsening and the Japanese people are feeling the crunch as energy and consumer goods prices soar. Chinese academic Zang Shijun believes that the Japanese currency will face even more pressure of rapid depreciation as the US Federal Reserve raises interest rates.
An employee works on solar photovoltaic modules at a factory in Hai'an in China's eastern Jiangsu province on 15 November 2021. (AFP)

China's push towards green energy accelerated by security concerns

China’s coal and electricity shortage last year and the current impact of the Russia-Ukraine war on global energy supply have highlighted China’s energy security concerns and the risks to fulfilling its climate goals. Nevertheless, while EAI academic Chen Gang believes that China is unlikely to significantly reduce its consumption of fossil fuels in the short term, he notes that there remain several drivers that will accelerate China's clean energy transition.
An armoured vehicle of pro-Russian troops is seen in the street during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine, 11 April 2022. (Chingis Kondarov/Reuters)

China's pro-Russia stance in the Ukraine war could negatively impact the Chinese economy

The immediate impact of the Ukraine war on the Chinese economy remains limited except for high commodity prices, assesses economist Alicia García Herrero. But the full impact will depend on the political decisions China makes on the Ukraine war. China seems keen to abide by the letter of the law to comply with Western sanctions on Russia, but not so much in terms of the spirit of the law. By taking risks and helping Russia as much as it is able to, will it get caught in the crossfire between the West and Russia?
Ukrainian serviceman secures the site of a bombing at a shopping centre as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine, 21 March 2022. (Marko Djurica/File Photo/Reuters)

The impact of the Russia-Ukraine war on the Chinese economy

The ongoing Russia-Ukraine war has brought about significant impacts on the global economy. While some analysts think that China's economy will benefit from the war, NUS academic Xu Le points out that the situation is not clear-cut, as China will have to face hits to its exports, as well as rising energy prices and challenges to food security.
Traffic moves past apartment buildings in the Clifton area of Karachi, Pakistan, on 5 March 2022. (Asim Hafeez/Bloomberg)

Pakistan, Russia and China: A new tripartite geopolitical centre of gravity in South Asia?

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s recent visit to Moscow during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Pakistan’s abstention in the UN General Assembly vote denouncing the Russian war could be an indication of a policy shift towards a more independent Pakistani foreign policy. Such a development could mean closer Pakistani ties with both China and Russia and the forming of a new geopolitical nexus in South Asia.