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Asia Pacific: clean energy leader in 2017

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Despite the global uncertainty brought about by recent events such as Brexit and policy direction of the incoming Trump administration, the outlook for energy and environment markets in 2017 is largely viewed to be balanced with a slight positive inclination. This follows a period of downward revisions to the economic growth forecasts and volatility in financial and commodities markets globally, impacted by the slowdown from China and oil prices slump over a two year period.

The Conference of Parties (COP22) discussions in Marrakech were clouded by Trump's threat to pull the US out of the COP21 Paris climate change accord. While it may be difficult for the US to unilaterally scuttle the accord, since most of the world countries have affirmed their commitment to de-carbonisation, the challenge lies in actually meeting the US$100 billion/y financial commitments and also agreement on the transparency of future climate monitoring. However economics will drive the substantial investments in clean and green technologies, led by China and India.

"We expect 2017 to be a transition year for long term changes, globally. With the rising protectionism across the world, issue of energy security will once again come to the fore in Asia Pacific. This will accelerate adoption of clean technologies which can be harnessed locally and those that are less impacted by global policy & price fluctuations," noted Ravi Krishnaswamy, Vice President, Energy & Environment, Asia Pacific, Frost & Sullivan.

Global oil industry will begin a slow recovery

With oil prices expected to average about US$55/bbl in 2017, the focus will be on operational excellence as industry players try to survive the tight upstream market. However, interest in downstream sector will continue to be strong with a slew of refinery and petrochemical investments planned across developing Asia including China, India, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Rise of LNG for power generation, even as coal will see decline in capacity addition during 2017

The global glut in LNG supply, aided by the possible large scale exports from the USA, has provided a huge opportunity for South and Southeast Asia increase its base load capacity using gas. Furthermore, the push towards delinking natural gas price from crude oil price could help development of Asian gas market, in the long run. There are signs of this already impacting the coal power plant industry, with 25% less coal capacity likely to be added in 2017 across China, India, Vietnam and Indonesia than in 2016.

Edge analytics and cloud adoption to drive the demand for critical power infrastructure

Critical power and cooling infrastructure for data centres will witness 8.2% growth in 2017. Security concerns, both cyber and physical, will further increase spending in advanced infrastructure management. Increasing connectivity and growing adoption of mobile applications in banking, travel and social media will drive the demand for cloud and edge analytics, thus propelling the overall data centre critical infrastructure market.

Digital transformation of homes and buildings market

The biggest beneficiary of ongoing global trend of digital transformation will be the homes and buildings sector in Asia. Proliferation of competitive energy management technologies will be aided by the use of cloud and open platform building management solutions (BMS). Facility Management companies will move into new service frontiers by acquiring and engaging in partnership with niche information technology players. With the availability of cheap and user friendly devices for home automation, the smart home market is expected to show a strong growth in China, South Korea and Japan.

Reducing non-revenue water will remain key focus for the water industry

The issue of resources and revenue leakage continues to plague the water sector across most of Asia. This will remain a major investment opportunity, with adoption of digital technologies like sensors and smart meters, helping to solve the problem to some extent. Indonesia's ambitious plans to restructure its water sector and attract US$25 billion in potential investments would very much depend on the actual ground level implementation. Lack of financial prudence, political interference and policy flaws could potentially derail the plan, if these issues are not addressed.

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