The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) was created to accelerate economic growth and promote peace and stability within its region. Today, the ASEAN region is a vast market of about 500 million people with a combined gross domestic product of about US$800 billion. The economic gains over the years were supported by collective actions based on consensus in implementing regional cooperation programmes. In 1997, the ASEAN leaders adopted the ASEAN Vision 2020, calling for ASEAN Partnership in Dynamic Development aimed at forging closer economic integration within the region. Among others, the ASEAN 2020 seeks to promote cooperation in energy efficiency and conservation (EE&C), as well as the development of new and renewable energy resources. It also envisions a clean and green ASEAN with fully established mechanisms for sustainable development to ensure protection of the environment, the sustainability of its natural resources, and the high quality of life of its peoples. Energy efficiency and conservation is therefore among the top priorities of the 10 ASEAN Member States. It is in this context and framework that a regional energy manager training and certification scheme (AEMAS – ASEAN Energy Management Scheme) was designed to respond to the needs of systematizing and harmonizing the actual implementation of sustainable EE&C measures within energy-intensive industries.
ASEAN Member States are at different stages of development in terms of energy efficiency and conservation (EE&C). During the past 15 years, ASEAN governments have implemented policies and programs to improve energy efficiency in energy end-users, which have successfully created awareness and educated the market on the benefits of implementing energy efficiency activities. Some members are currently proposing training courses for energy managers, which are all, without exceptions, focused on building the technical skills of energy managers. The current situation in terms of EE&C in ASEAN can be summarized as follows: 1) awareness of energy end-users on the benefits of implementing EE&C activities is relatively satisfactory; and 2) technical skills of energy managers are appropriate to some extent, The large multi-stakeholders consultation that was conducted during the design of the AEMAS revealed that what prevents the effective integration of energy management systems in end-users is the lack of managerial skills of energy managers and the fact that energy managers have no access to the top management within their organizations. The Asian culture makes it difficult if not impossible for non-senior management staff to influence a decision. To actually incorporate energy in the management policy of a company, the energy management role must be assigned to a senior manager who has access to the board. This is the concept of the “energy manager” function that is promoted in the AEMAS scheme. The energy manager must be a senior manager, who will have a technical team to design and implement energy management measures in the context of a Sustainable Energy Management System that must be incorporated in the company’s corporate policy.
AEMAS has been designed to address the needs of energy managers and energy-intensive end-users (industries/companies and buildings) as follows:
- Energy Managers: most energy professionals in the ASEAN region have adequate technical capabilities to conduct energy audits, identify energy saving measures and related technologies, etc. However, the level of implementation remains very low because there is no systematic approach to energy management. There is proper “management” of the energy system. Energy professionals must therefore be trained on the managerial aspects of energy management: define and adopt an energy policy, define and allocate human and financial resources, define and implement monitoring procedures, change procurement policies in favor of energy efficient equipment, define and implement an appropriate reporting system. And as importantly, secure boardroom support. The “Energy Manager” does not need to be an energy professional, but must have 1) good managerial skills; and 2) access to his/her company’s management board. This is why factory managers, heads of finance department and general managers are part of the target groups. The concept of certified energy manager and the training curriculum developed under AEMAS reflect this analysis. The needs of the target groups are therefore: 1) increase their knowledge of a sustainable energy management system and acquire the skills to define and implement it within their company; and 2) gain credibility within their company to access their management board and secure the human and financial resources required for the implementation of the sustainable energy management system.
- Energy end-users: with a significant annual electricity demand, their energy cost represents a significant amount. However, energy cost represents on average no more than 5 to 10% in a given factory. As a result, the management does not pay much attention to investing human, financial and time resources in energy savings project. Past efforts in ASEAN countries through voluntary and compulsory programs have however started to change perceptions and create awareness, but actual implementation is still reactive to government regulation, and not pro-active. The success of ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 certifications are not based on the internal benefits of implementing such systems, as they generally do not result in significant economical improvement, and if they do, it is generally not the motivation of the management to invest human, financial and time resources. The motivation comes from the improved corporate image that ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 certifications bring to certified companies, that indirectly improves their commercial performance. The inclusion of the certification of energy end-users into the ASEAN Energy Management Scheme is based on the lessons learned form the ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 certification. The Action will therefore take a dual approach:
The following milestones have already been achieved with financial support from the EC-ASEAN Energy Facility: 1) Design of the ASEAN Energy Manager Accreditation Scheme; 2) Development of the training curricula for energy managers and training providers; and 3) Development of the Energy Management Simulation Test. All these outputs have been officially endorsed by the 10 ASEAN governments through the ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Energy (SOME). These 3 projects were implemented under the steering of ACE and the 10 ASEAN EE&C agencies.
The AEMAS certification procedures were designed after reviews of existing environmental and energy management systems such as ISO 14000, European EMAS scheme, US Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award, UK’s Energy Efficiency Accreditation Scheme, and Thailand’s Energy Management System. AEMAS was designed to be complementary to these schemes by focusing on the energy management policy formulation and implementation, defining appropriate lines of command relevant with the Asian business culture, and by making certification conditional to not only adoption of policies, but most importantly to actual energy saving achievements. AEMAS adds significant value to the existing energy management systems. Individuals achieve Certified Energy Manager (CEM) certification after completing the training and passing the theoretical test and can be elevated to Professional Energy Manager (PEM) certification after reporting duly documented and verified achievements in energy efficiency corporate policy implementation and actual savings achieved. Companies attain 1-star certification upon adopting energy efficiency corporate policy led by an AEMAS certified energy manager. 2-star and/or 3-star certification is attained upon reporting actual energy savings, which are verified by AEMAS-certified auditors.
AEMAS was established with support from Switch Asia, to be managed by ACE and the ASEAN Country Coordinators with support from the ASEAN governments. Following the long-term financial sustainability plan developed earlier, AEMAS is envisioned to reach financial sustainability after the grant from the European Union ends.