Vietnam has one of the highest rates of willingness, at 68 percent, to endure short-term pain that may arise due to focus on renewable energies, a study by auditing and consulting firm Grant Thornton has found.
Motocyclists buy Bio-fuel Ethanol 5 at a PV Oil station.
Along with the intensity of the demonstrations and protests in the Arab world since last December, the price of oil had also risen: Brent Crude climbed to US$125 a barrel in April, up from $85 at the start of the year, and remained above $110 now, the Grant Thornton International Business Report, released yesterday, said.
Governments in Southeast Asia were actively promoting research to find alternative fuels, and were calling for the protection of current resources.
Vietnam had great potential for renewable energy since it was a windy country with more than 3,200km of coastline and 2,000 to 2,500 hours of sunshine a year.
Indeed, many businesses would be willing to endure the short-term pain investment in these areas could create: 51 per cent of respondents said they would accept higher energy costs in the short-term to reduce the economy's reliance on oil and have more stable prices in the longer-term.
While this stance was supported by 60 per cent of businesses in North America and 53 per cent in the G7 nations, only 35 per cent in the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) economies agreed.
Among ASEAN respondents, Vietnam had one of the highest rates of agreement at 68 per cent, second only to the Philippines at 82 percent.
Thailand, Malaysia, China and South Korea had been developing renewable energy as a national policy for years.
This increase in interest among Vietnamese businesses would, perhaps, pressure the Government to build on its existing plans and take further action which would help ensure energy security and facilitate links between members of the ASEAN countries.
Following the unrest in the Middle East and North Africa, and its impact on oil prices, 44 percent of businesses worldwide supported increased government investment in renewable/alternative energy.
Almost all the approval came from ASEAN and Asia-Pacific countries (61 percent and 52 percent, respectively).
In Vietnam, 50 percent of businesses were willing to support investment in renewable energy.
Ken Atkinson, managing partner of Grant Thornton in Viet Nam, said: "The Arab Spring is the key issue in global energy security. The region holds well over half of known global oil reserves, and so a dramatic increase in the price of oil was to be expected.
"However, this seems to have sharpened the minds of businesses to the challenge of moving towards more sustainable sources of energy.
"At a time when the global recovery remains fragile it is encouraging to see that so many businesses support extra investment in renewables even if this caused energy costs to rise in the short term. These results should serve as a reminder to governments and international organisations that reliance of economies on oil needs to be addressed."
Disagreement amongst OPEC nations on increasing supply persuaded the International Energy Agency to release more than 60 million barrels from emergency stocks, but the research suggests that businesses are keen to explore more sustainable sources of energy.