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ADB to Accelerate Energy Efficiency Investments

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Lesser-developed countries — with limited, inefficient, or ageing power plants, and significant supply gaps — like Nepal, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Kazakhstan, Laos, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Uzbekistan, should be supported for interventions that could focus on priorities for reducing line losses; installing proper metering, billing, and collection systems; and improving the efficiency of power plants, according to a new Asian Development Bank (ADB) study, ‘Same Energy, More Power: Accelerating Energy Efficiency in Asia’, that highlights the booming demand for power in developing Asia.

Asian Development Bank will boost investment in end-user energy efficiency to help Asia and the Pacific tackle the surging power demand and growing environmental threats from greenhouse gas emissions.

“There is a huge potential for saving energy by making buildings, vehicles, machinery and water pumps more energy efficient for the benefit of consumers and the environment, and the time is right for ADB to do more in this area,” said ADB’s vice-president for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development Bindu N Lohani, at the opening of the eighth Asia Clean Energy Forum, in Manila.

“We want to promote demand-side energy efficiency through public and private sector partnership, with ADB taking a lead role in providing customised policy advisory services, technical assistance, and innovative financing support in developing member countries,” he added.

The study notes that the region’s share of primary global energy
consumption is set to rise from 34 per cent in 2010 to as much as 56 per cent in 2035. By then, most Asian countries will produce less than half of the energy they need, forcing substantial fuel imports. Using energy more efficiently reduces the need to build power plants and lowers imported fuel bills, potentially freeing up government funds for spending elsewhere.

The spending could include provision of electricity to the estimated 628 million people in the region who currently have no supply. Implementing energy efficiency measures is more cost effective than expanding energy generation. The report notes that energy efficiency investments equivalent to one per cent to four per cent of energy sector spending could meet as much as 25 per cent of the projected increase in primary energy consumption in developing Asia by 2030.

ADB has been expanding investment in clean energy, including in renewable energy and energy efficiency, providing $2.3 billion in financing in 2012. Last year, ADB invested more than $970 million in energy efficiency projects, with the majority of projects focused on demand-side energy efficiency, including households and manufacturing plants.

Increased investment in energy efficiency will help make Asia’s energy sector more sustainable, affordable, and reliable. A growing number of countries like China, India, and Thailand are already implementing energy efficiency initiatives as a least-cost solution to meeting rising power demand, and ADB is keen to support such efforts.

Potential new investment by ADB could include support for energy-efficient public building upgrades, street lighting improvements, and upgrades of electricity metering devices. 

ADB may also look to promote energy-efficiency programmes in utility companies and in state-owned industrial facilities, as well as provide financing mechanisms to help manufacturers phase out inefficient products more quickly.

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