ADB urges Asia Pacific to craft clean energy policies
(The Philippine Star) - June 9, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The Asian Development Bank yesterday urged developing countries in the Asia Pacific region to develop “adequate and consistent” energy policies on diversifying their energy mix to ease the transition to a low-carbon environment.

In opening the plenary sessions of the Asia Clean Energy Forum yesterday, ADB president Takehiko Nakao urged countries to put in place specific regulations to incentivize the development of clean energy.

“We should reduce fossil fuel subsidies, which encourage the overuse of energy and distort the market by making fossil fuels cheaper. Asia accounts for half of global fossil fuel subsidies,”Nakao said.

“Eliminating them will promote cleaner energy, protect local environments and reduce the carbon footprint,” he added.

Nakao said expanding the use of clean energy, especially in Asia would help the region mitigate the ill-effects of climate change and help it conform to its international commitments.

“Expanding the deployment of clean energy is key to achieving the twin goals of mitigation and development. We must promote energy transition to decarbonization,” said Nakao.

Last year, various nations signed the COP21 Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals, two landmark agreements that require signatory states to cut down their carbon emissions.

Nakao said it was important that Asia expand its use of clean energy because of its rapid growth and accompanying energy consumption.

“The most important challenge for Asia going forward is to pursue climate change mitigation measures while the region is growing. The Asian economy as a whole is growing at a solid pace of six percent annually. It will expand from a third of world GDP today by about one half of 2050,” he said.

Having clear-cur energy policies would also help ADB provide technical and financial assistance to member states that wish to pursue a low carbon path.

ADB has pledged to increase its annual financing for climate change mitigation and adaptation projects to $6 billion by 2020.

Out of the $6 billion, $4 billion would be allocated for projects meant to mitigate the impact of climate change such as renewable energy systems, energy efficiency projects, transport initiatives, and projects for the creation of green cities.

“There are many opportunities for ADB actions. We must act in cooperation with our development partners and the private sector. The most important role for ADB in supporting clean energy is to provide loans, grants, and technical assistance to governments and the private sector,” Nakao said.

ADB surpassed for the fifth straight year in 2015 its annual investment target in clean energy, indicating that an economic cycle where new forms of renewable energy out-compete fossil fuel-based power production may have already started.

In its 2015 Clean Energy Investments Project Summaries, ADB said it invested $2.47 billion in clean energy, above its $2 billion annual target. This was driven by continuing efforts in developing Asian nations to prioritize the establishment of clean energy solutions.

At this level, investment in clean energy comprised 61 percent of ADB’s investment target for the mitigation of the ill-effects of climate change.

Out of the total investments in clean energy last year, 66.1 percent was made in the public sector. The bulk of the amount or 55.3 percent went to proponents of energy efficiency projects and 33.8 percent was provided to developers of renewable energy systems.

Among the clean energy projects that received financing  from ADB last year was the 150-megawatt (MW) Burgos windfarm project of EDC Burgos Wind Power Corp., and Aboitiz Power Corp.’s Tiwi and Makban Geothermal Power green bonds project.

The Philippines is already reviewing its energy policy as it tries to steer away from coal-based power generation.

President Aquino signed last month a resolution calling for a six-month comprehensive review of the country’s energy policy and energy mix with the goal of pursuing a low carbon development pathway and attaining climate change mitigation targets.

This would help the government set a clear policy on coal-fired power plants, which are the biggest sources of man-made carbon emissions, accounting for about 35 percent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

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