ADB’s Asia Clean Energy Forum 2018: technology and innovation are key to a clean energy future
Participants of an international forum held at the ADB headquarters said that technology and innovation can play an important role in Asia and the Pacific’s push towards a low-carbon energy future.
The two also have the potential to contribute in providing access to cleaner and more affordable energy sources across the region.
With the theme, “Harnessing Innovation to Power the Future,” the Asia Clean Energy Forum (ACEF) 2018 is currently being held from 4 to 8 June 2018.
ADB, along with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Korean Energy Agency (KEA) and the ADB Institute, is co-hosting the event, which brings together over 1,000 entrepreneurs, policymakers, financial institutions, NGOs, and participants from the academia, from more than 50 countries.
ACEF began in 2006 as an annual event to provide a platform for collaboration in promoting clean energy in Asia and the Pacific.
Among the topics included in the week-long event are future energy innovations such as energy in buildings, renewable energy in urban settings, decentralised power grids, health and environmental benefits of energy efficiency, clean cooking, new business models, and digital transformation and innovations.
The notable speakers during the event are Energy Agency Chief Economist Mr Laszlo Varro, Grameen Bank Co-Founder and the Bright Green Energy Foundation (BGEF) Founder and Chairman Mr Dipal Chandra Barua, and Costa Rica Limpia Founder and Director of Ms Monica Araya.
“New technologies such as smart grids, large-scale battery energy storage, renewable energy-based micro-grids with storage, waste-to-energy, carbon capture and storage, and artificial intelligence have huge potentials to accelerate the clean energy transformation,” said ADB President Mr Takehiko Nakao.
He added, “But technology by itself is not enough. Projects with advanced technologies must be accompanied by viable business models, stable regulation, and smart policies to deploy the technologies.”
Large development challenges remain despite the rapid growth of Asia and the Pacific over the past few decades. For instance, 440 million people still lack access to electricity in the developing region.
Innovative technologies will play a big role in securing energy access for these people, most of which live in remote rural areas and islands.
In 2017, the ADB launched the New Energy Leaders Program to showcase creative solutions to these challenges and recognise the next generation of clean energy entrepreneurs.
At the opening plenary of ACEF 2018, seven New Energy Leaders for the year 2018 received awards for their contribution in businesses ranging from off-grid power solutions to large-scale wind and solar, energy efficiency, and digital customer solutions using big data and analytics.
Support for clean energy forms the foundation for ADB’s efforts to combat climate change. Clean energy offers a win-win solution of mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and at the same time meeting the need for new and expanded energy sources.
Over US$2 billion in climate mitigation finance in energy was invested by ADB in 2017. With contributions from other sectors, ADB is on track toward doubling the annual climate finance to US$6 billion by 2020, US$4 billion of which will be for mitigation.
In Sri Lanka, ADB is providing US$200 million for a 100-megawatt wind power generation project, which is helping to diversify the country’s power generation through clean, renewable energy sources.
In the Philippines, ADB provided technical assistance and grant funds for a solar-diesel mini-grid which provides 24-hour access to electricity on Cobrador Island.
In the People’s Republic of China, ADB provided US$250 million in loans to a joint venture of Chinese and Icelandic companies to expand district heating services based on geothermal technology.