Renewables in the built environment in Asia

Four in 10 occupiers say on-site renewable energy will become non-negotiable for them by 2030.

June 07, 2024

There were many alarming climate headlines in 2023. It was the warmest year in recorded history and witnessed the highest greenhouse gas emission levels in a year. Yet, it also marked pivotal wins: 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) saw a landmark global agreement for a “transition away from fossil fuels”.

Globally, there is a growing commitment to embrace renewable energy, with 118 countries pledging to triple global renewable energy capacity by 2030. There is also a rising demand from corporates in APAC to access renewable energy options to meet their net-zero commitments. RE100, a membership-based initiative with a mandate to drive corporate renewable energy consumption, has majority of its corporate members operating in APAC. Nearly 1,500 companies in the region have committed to the Science-Based Target Initiative (SBTi), ranking second only to Europe. 

In a JLL study surveying 243 corporate real estate (CRE) leaders across APAC, three in four want at least half of their office portfolio to be powered by renewable energy by 2030. The APAC region is leading the green energy transition, contributing about 60% of the world’s new renewable energy capacity added in recent years. At the forefront of this transition are several key Asian countries like Australia, China, Vietnam and India. However, this progress in global renewable energy expansion is not yet translating into ease of access or purchase of green power in APAC. According to a RE100 survey, the region is among the most challenging for businesses seeking embrace renewable energy.

The development of a strategy around renewable energy, whether that is for on-site or off-site renewables, or a hybrid approach, is crucial in the Asian markets. A thorough assessment of local market and regulatory conditions is required to capture opportunities that maximise the renewable energy potential and support a cost-efficient transition within each jurisdiction. Real estate asset owners and occupiers in the region have a chance to lead from the front by demanding renewable energy and actively participate in the electricity grid as flexible demand centres. Strategically choosing renewable energy sources and investing in buildings designed to engage with renewables-powered grids will reduce long-term energy costs and achieve sustainability goals of their real estate portfolios.