Securing a clean energy future for Asia-Pacific

Securing a clean energy future for Asia-Pacific

The message from the 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26) makes it clear that we must reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In which, energy is the largest source of emissions. The question is, how to balance the growing demand for energy in the Asia-Pacific region and the imperative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

ADB will continue to support large wind power projects in Vietnam to bring renewable energy and reduce the carbon footprint of the economy.

The recent spike in energy prices – which is evident in the Asia-Pacific region – is also a reminder that past and present patterns of production and consumption are unsustainable. . However, despite significant advances in energy access in recent years, there are still 940 million people in the Asia-Pacific region experiencing frequent power outages, around 350 million without access to electricity. adequate electricity supply, while about 150 million people still do not have access to electricity.

Despite significant advances in energy access in recent years, there are still 940 million people in the Asia-Pacific region experiencing frequent power outages, around 350 million without access to electricity. full capacity, while about 150 million people do not have access to electricity.

Now is the time to take strong action to ensure that in the future, diverse sources of renewable energy are equitably and fully available to all. The new Asian Development Bank (ADB) policy, released in October 2021, outlines five key pathways to help ADB’s developing member countries transition to an energy future. brighter amount.

The first, and also one of the most important, is to continue electrifying the underserved areas of the region so that at least basic energy needs can be met. This is an important step in eradicating extreme poverty and creating a more equal society. Cleaner approaches to everyday life – lighting, cooking, heating and cooling – will increase as electricity use spreads from household to household. ADB will promote a cleaner and more widely accessible electricity grid, and encourage more inclusive social activism and gender equality throughout the process.

Second, ADB’s updated policy reflects the indisputable fact that addressing climate change is the critical issue of our time.

The Asia-Pacific region suffers from extreme weather, with increasingly severe impacts and high casualties. Agriculture, the livelihood on which many people depend, is threatened by floods and droughts. If the increase in global temperature is not curbed, many parts of the Asia-Pacific could even become a dead zone for humans due to temperature extremes or saltwater intrusion caused by sea level rise. and high tide. The culprit is greenhouse gas emissions, much of which comes from energy.

To drive change, ADB will help Member States improve energy efficiency, use renewable energy, and be low-carbon, while integrating climate and disaster resilience into energy sectors of these countries.

In Vietnam, for example, we will continue to strengthen our preparedness to support large wind power projects that deliver renewable energy and reduce the carbon intensity of the economy, by mobilizing and using finance from the private sector.

In the Pacific, we have been aggressively preparing an innovative renewable energy investment base to deploy climate-resilient floating solar technology, while significantly expanding access sustainable electricity sources in 11 small island countries in this region.

Mr. Robert Guild and Mr. Priyantha Wijayatunga
Mr. Robert Guild and Mr. Priyantha Wijayatunga

In Indonesia and the Philippines, ADB’s new energy policy is to provide a platform to phase out coal on an unprecedented scale. At COP26, we joined these countries to launch the Southeast Asian Partnership Agreement on Energy Transition Mechanism, to encourage coal-fired power plants to shut down soon, making Indonesia and the Philippines become pioneering countries in the low-carbon transition.

Decommissioning half of the coal fleet in these countries and in Vietnam has the potential to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 200 million tons a year – the equivalent of taking 61 million cars off the road. . This will make the Southeast Asian Partnership on Energy Transition Mechanism one of the largest carbon reduction programs in the world.

In addition to phasing out existing coal facilities, we have also formalized the non-finance of new coal-fired heating and power plants. While one policy may not work for all countries, we will continue to be steadfast in our use of more sustainable energy sources, while working to minimize the impact of change on those countries. workers and communities affected by these changes.

Third, smart energy policy also means smart governance. ADB will help create the robust frameworks needed as the sector becomes more focused and moves away from the traditional environment. This means that ADB will act as a knowledge hub to provide country-specific technical assistance and widely share best practices, innovations, and technologies. latest green. We will also continue to support organizations and businesses in this area.

Fourth, as environmental impacts cross political boundaries, ADB will work to capture and promote further regional cooperation and integration in the energy sector. The impact of innovative ideas and strategies can be dramatically increased when shared across countries. Therefore, it is possible that there will be strategies to invest in broader power grid infrastructure, as well as build regional energy markets. This will lead to lower costs, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and a more secure energy grid thanks to its diversity.

Fifth, ADB will continue to invest in green bonds, utilize a variety of financing mechanisms, and align our lending with progressive policies across all aspects of our work, in order to achieve our goals. Inclusive is a more sustainable future. We will work hard to provide more favorable financing and stimulate private sector investment to support members.

ADB’s updated policy builds on its proven commitment to the energy sector, with more than $42 billion in financing contributed over the past decade. But ADB, like any other, cannot alone shape a more sustainable future, and finance and trade will be critical to success. We recently outlined our ambition to provide $100 billion in total climate-related projects financing from ADB’s resources between 2019-2030, an increase of $20 billion over the three-year commitment. prior to. Of the total number of ADB projects, at least 75% will include climate change mitigation and adaptation initiatives.

In the past, the goal of expanding energy systems often came at the expense of the environment. We can and must do more to ensure energy access, while putting sustainability at the heart of our efforts. ADB’s new energy policy will help promote an inclusive and equitable Asia-Pacific, while contributing to nurturing and rebuilding the natural world.n

Head of Climate Change and Sustainable Development, ADB

(**) Head of Energy Department, ADB