Asian Development Bank to Invest $1 Billion for 'Clean Energy' in Asia

One project is the installation and operation of energy efficient heating systems in China.

Annually, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said it would invest one billion dollars in "clean energy" projects as part of an effort to encourage their use, the bank said June 3. ADB vice-president for sustainable development Ursula Schafer-Preuss made the announcement at a special forum sponsored by the ADB and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) on finding cleaner energy sources for Asia.

The ADB is also working to increase "access to energy for all," while promoting reforms such as transparent tariff rates, appropriate regulations and forming long-term policies, she said.

Among the projects to be financed by the new ADB investment is the installation and operation of energy efficient heating systems in China, Schafer-Preuss said. ADB sources said an energy efficiency project in Guandong was also being considered .

In the short-term, the investments would likely go to projects that boost energy efficiency explained ADB senior energy specialist Sohail Hasnie. However, viable long-term projects such solar, wind or ocean wave power plants, are also being looked at. Hasnie said the viability of "clean energy" projects largely depended on locations and power charges. As an example, he said "the Philippines has high (power) tariffs so a lot of (renewable energy) projects would be viable here which would not be viable in Indonesia," which has low power tariffs.

Speaking at the same forum, various industry leaders said energy efficiency could be increased simply by adopting existing technologies instead of using new techniques. Enrique Penalosa, former mayor of Bogota, Colombia cited the success his city enjoyed by opening it up to pedestrians, bicycles and buses rather than building new highways or parking spaces for cars. "A citizen on a $30 bicycle is equally important as a citizen in a $30,000 car," he said to wide applause.

Marten Williamsen, director for China of industry leader Philips Lighting, remarked that two-thirds of all lighting in the world is still using "older, less efficient technology developed before the 1970s," like incandescent bulbs even though more efficient bulbs were available.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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