IN a move to bring investment and innovation in clean energy in Asia, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) launched the Sustainable Energy for All hub for Asia Pacific during the 9th Asia Clean Energy Forum held at the ADB headquarters in Mandaluyong City on Wednesday.
ADB Vice-President for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development Bindu Lohani said the new hub is aimed at mobilizing investment and finding innovative ways to bring clean, modern energy to the people of Asia and the Pacific.
“Developing Asia is home to the majority of the world’s energy poor, more than 600 million without access to electricity and around 1.8 billion people still using fuels like firewood or charcoal to cook their food and heat their homes,” he said.
Lohani, however, said energy poverty can be overcome through sustainable, low-carbon energy means.
“Through this new hub we are gathering together investors, innovators, and experts to make this happen,” he added.
The hub is a partnership of the ADB, which will manage and host the facility, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
It is one of three regional hubs under the global Sustainable Energy for All Initiative set up in 2011 by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
The hub has three objectives to be met by 2030 which include to ensure universal access to modern energy services; to double the annual global rate of improvement in energy efficiency; and to double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.
The hub will leverage the existing structures of ADB, UNDP and UNESCAP energy programs and support to countries in conducting rapid assessments, building constructive dialogue on policy, catalyzing investments, and mobilizing bilateral and global funds for clean energy development.
During the forum, it was noted that Asia’s demand for energy is soaring as the region’s economies expand rapidly and as populations move to cities where energy use is higher.
By 2035, experts noted that developing Asia will account for 56 percent of global primary energy use, up from 34 percent in 2010.
These needs will be met by increasing the use of renewable energy and by achieving greater energy efficiency if the environment is to be safeguarded.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that Asia and the Pacific will need investments of more than $200 billion to provide full access to energy by 2030.
The 9th Asia Clean Energy Forum attracted nearly 1,000 participants, including policymakers, project developers, investors, and technical experts to discuss sustainable energy development in the region.
A high-level ministerial dialogue with energy ministers from Bhutan, Japan, Maldives, the Philippines, and Tajikistan, is addressing the three-fold energy problem of energy affordability, sustainability, and energy security.
In meetings ahead of the forum, ADB signed a memorandum of understanding with the Abu Dhabi-based International Renewable Energy Agency to share knowledge on clean and renewable energy solutions.
According to ADB, energy access, renewable energy development, and energy efficiency are priorities among its priorities.
In 2013, ADB invested $2.3 billion in clean energy and has pledged to continue investments of at least $2 billion a year.