Skip to main content

IEEFA Asia: At a Crossroads, and Where Much of the Energy-Transition Action Is

September 30, 2016
Sandy Buchanan

Asia, like the rest of the world, is at an energy-policy crossroads.

Nowhere is this more evident than in electricity markets, where entire countries are grappling now with which fork to take: the one that loops back to the past or the one that leads to modernization and sustainability.


At issue in the Philippines, for example, is whether the government of an island nation with more than 100 million people will opt in the near future to double down on coal-fired electricity or choose a more prudent course rooted in renewables.

In Indonesia, the fourth most populous country on the planet, the issue is even broader because Indonesia is the largest thermal coal exporter in the world and because seaborne thermal coal markets are in profound structural decline.

Our mission, to accelerated the transition to a diverse, sustainable and profitable energy economy, is simultaneously global, regional and local. and while we take a holistic view of energy markets, much of our work is informed by focused, on-the-ground work from the frontlines of change.

That’s why we’re announcing the expansion of our IEEFA team in Asia, including:

  • Yulanda Chung, the former head of Standard Chartered’s sustainable finance team in London and Singapore, where she was responsible for the bank’s governance procedures on sustainable lending and investments and for advising on environmental and social issues. Before her work at Standard Chartered, Chung was an equity analyst for the mining and building materials sectors at Sustainable Asset Management (now RobeccoSAM) in Zurich and was responsible for the sectors’ Dow Jones Sustainability Index selection. Chung will provide in-depth analysis of the risk of coal and coal-fired power sector investments in Indonesia, the largest exporter of thermal coal in the world, and the world’s fourth most populous country. 
  • Sara Jane Ahmed, an investment advisor for the U.K.-based Castle Cove Investments, specializing in originating and structuring energy opportunities in emerging markets. She has worked also for the World Resources Institute and Grameen Bank. Ahmed will focus on energy-sector dynamics in the Philippines, which is at a policy crossroads for how it will provide cost-effective electricity to its residents.
  • Simon Nicholas, a fellow at the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales with 16 years of experience in the finance industry at ABN Amro, Macquarie Group and Commonwealth Bank of Australia in both Sydney and London. Nicholas’ work with IEEFA focuses on Australian coal exports and associated infrastructure investments and their growing stranded asset risks, as well as tracking the transformations underway in the key electricity markets of China, India and Bangladesh.
  • Bruce Robertson, a former fund manager who has been a professional investor for over 32 years and has worked with Perpetual Trustees, UBS, Nippon Life Insurance and BT and is an active participant in the national debate on energy issues in Australia. Robertson is leading IEEFA research on the structurally challenged and heavily leveraged Australian gas, gas infrastructure and LNG export sectors.

Chung, Ahmed, Nicholas, and Robertson report to Tim Buckley, our director of energy finance studies, Australasia, and their work will appear regularly here on

These analysts bring a host of analytic insights and experiences in the financial world to the IEEFA team, and will work closely with our personnel in the U.S., India, and the U.K.

While electricity markets are nation-based by necessity, every country is affected by rapidly changing technology and an increasingly cohesive global climate policy along with broader limits to growth in terms of status-quo sustainability and pollution.

Energy markets worldwide face the challenge of how to bring electricity at an affordable price to its residents and businesses. IEEFA’s work in the Asia Pacific region will focus on—and help advance—the expanding edge of the global energy transition.

Sandy Buchanan is IEEFA’s executive director.


IEEFA Update: Australia’s Natural-Gas Cartel Is Bleeding Australia

IEEFA Asia: International Investors Are Buying Into India Renewables Boom

IEEFA Asia: In Shenhua Data, Evidence of a Changing Economy in China


Sandy Buchanan

Sandy Buchanan is IEEFA’s Chief Executive Officer, with responsibility for overseeing all aspects of the organization. She has worked over 30 years on a variety of energy issues including coal, nuclear, utilities, renewables, and energy efficiency.

Go to Profile

Join our newsletter

Keep up to date with all the latest from IEEFA