Energy efficiency in Asia – an untapped resource


Manila, Philippines — (METERING.COM) — July 9, 2013 – Energy efficiency is a key solution to meeting energy and economic challenges in developing Asia, with a 1–4% investment in energy efficiency, as a share of overall energy sector investment, meeting as much as 25% of the projected increase in primary energy consumption by 2030, according to a new report from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

This in turn can boost regional energy security by tempering the need for imported energy, as by then most countries in the region will be producing less than half of the energy they require. More generally, robust deployment of energy efficiency can relieve pressure on existing energy infrastructure while reducing emissions and other pollutants that harm air quality and contribute to climate change.

The report, Same Energy, More Power: Accelerating Energy Efficiency in Asia, reviews trends in energy efficiency globally and in Asia in particular, and identifies possible areas for the ADB to expand its support for such initiatives, in particular demand side energy efficiency initiatives. These include energy efficient improvements in products and appliances, building design and use, industrial operations, and alternative transport.

Investment in clean energy in Asia has expanded by almost fifteen fold over the past decade, but the investment requirements are still significant. ADB estimates that a total of $944 billion of investment in end-use energy efficiency is needed for China, India, and Southeast Asian countries, to meet their national targets for energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emission reductions by 2020. Of this about 90% is required in China.

From ADB’s perspective it achieved an initial target of $1 billion in clean energy investment per year by 2008, and has scaled this up to $2.3 billion in 2012. However, only about 4% of the Bank’s overall clean energy portfolio has supported energy management in industry and buildings – two sectors that together are responsible for more than 70% of total commercial energy consumption and 85% of electricity use in the region.

Potential areas for new investment by ADB outlined in the report include support for smart metering upgrades, energy efficient public building upgrades, and street lighting improvements. Other opportunities include promoting energy efficiency programs in utility companies and in state-owned industrial facilities, and providing financing mechanisms to help manufacturers phase out inefficient products more quickly.