ADB approves new energy policy

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a new energy policy that will support universal access to reliable and affordable energy services, while promoting the low-carbon transition in Asia and the Pacific.

In a statement, ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa noted that energy is central to inclusive socioeconomic development, but the expansion of energy systems has come at the cost of harmful impacts on climate and environment.

For this reason, Asakawa said ADB’s new energy policy will support its developing member countries (DMCs) in the critical and urgent task of expanding access to reliable, affordable, and clean energy.

“This new policy locks in our strong commitment that ADB will not fund new coal power production,” Asakawa said.

“Together with our elevated ambition to deliver $100 billion in climate financing to our DMCs in 2019–2030, it provides a clear path for ADB’s contribution to an environmentally sustainable energy future,” he added.

According to the ADB, progress on access to energy has been rapid across developing Asia and the Pacific. But roughly 350 million people in the region still have no access to an adequate supply, while about 150 million people do not have electricity.

“Continuing economic growth and urbanization will require developing affordable and reliable energy systems with substantial additional electricity-generating capacity,” the bank said.

It also cited the International Energy Agency, which suggested that the region’s installed electricity-generating capacity could increase by about seven percent per annum, from 3,386 gigawatts in 2019 to 6,113 gigawatts by 2030.

In addition, investments in renewable energy generation in the region could reach $1.3 trillion per annum by 2030, doubling the amount from the previous decade.

ADB has made a significant contribution to the region’s energy sector with total financing of over $42 billion from 2009 to 2020 but the region’s energy financing needs far exceed the resources of any single actor.

“The new policy prioritizes ADB’s resources to leverage commercial financing where possible to tackle the most difficult energy challenges,” the lender said.

ADB said it is committed to aligning all its operations with the goals of the Paris Agreement and this month raised its ambition to deliver $100 billion in cumulative climate financing from its own resources from 2019 to 2030.

“This will support climate adaptation and mitigation in all sectors including energy. At least 75 percent of ADB’s operations by number of projects will feature climate adaptation and mitigation initiatives by 2030,” the bank said.

This article was originally published by Manila Bulletin.