The Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS), comprised of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and Yunnan Province and Guangxi Autonomous Region of China, is an area with immense economic potential and rich natural resources. As many as 70 million people are living within the Mekong River Basin area and 325 million throughout the sub-region, the GMS countries are enjoyed a buoyant economic growth over the last decades averaging 6.5 % GDP growth. Alongside with the rapid urbanization and industrialization in the region, demands for affordable, accessible and available energy supply is also expected to intensify. Drawing lessons from the other countries and regions around the world that are facing disrupted energy vulnerabilities, it becomes a pressing issue for GMS countries to meet the needs of energy consumption in sustainable manner. It is widely recognized renewable energy in the form of solar, wind, biofuel and biogas is a viable alternative to reduce the dependence on fossil fuels and emissions of greenhouse gas. Whilst endowment of the potential renewables in GMS region varies from countries to countries, the GMS countries set the targets to use renewable energy ranging from 6% to 20% for the period up to 2020 and beyond. Those efforts are directed as an important step toward sustainable and inclusive growth. Notwithstanding the promising benefits posed by the renewable energy, harnessing renewable energy is patchy. Aside from Thailand and two provinces from China, the remainders are in the early stages of promoting renewable energy encountering the hurdles which include lack of technical and maintenance knowledge, weak cooperation between different stakeholders.
This creates greater impetus for Mekong Institute (MI) to step up in energy issue in the region to facilitate increase cooperation in the development of innovative, cost-effective and secure renewable energy technologies. MI aims to address the inhibiting barriers through seminars, dialogues, trainings and workshops which allow exchanging experiences and innovative approaches among the practitioners and policy makers working on sustainable energy development. As some of the GMS countries have made considerable progress in exploiting renewable energy, it is required for the region to have
more effective platforms for sharing the lesson learned and good practices in the use of green energy. Particularly, MI is working on building common perspective and share vision among the GMS countries on prospects, challenges and synergies in balancing energy security, environmental sustainability and economic competitiveness.