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Energy consumption in developing Asia to rise: ADB report released

The share of primary global energy consumption in developing Asia is set to rise from 34 percent in 2010 to as much as 56 percent in 2035, and by then, most Asian countries will produce less than half of the energy they need, forcing substantial fuel imports.

These were the findings made in a new Asian Development Bank (ADB) study, ‘Same energy, more power: accelerating energy efficiency in Asia’. The report highlights the booming demand for power in developing Asia. The study said ADB will boost investment in end-user energy efficiency to help Asia and the Pacific tackle surging power demand and growing environmental threats from greenhouse gas emissions. It observed that using energy more efficiently reduces the need to build power plants and lowers imported fuel bills, potentially freeing up government funds for spending elsewhere. This spending could include provision of electricity to the estimated 628 million people in the region who currently have no supply, it added.

According to the study, implementing energy efficiency measures is more cost effective than expanding energy generation. Energy efficiency investments equivalent to 1 percent to 4 percent of energy sector spending could meet as much as 25 percent of the projected increase in primary energy consumption in developing Asia by 2030.

ADB has been expanding investment in clean energy, including in renewable energy and energy efficiency, providing $2.3 billion in financing in 2012. Last year, ADB invested more than $970 million in energy efficiency projects, with the majority of projects focused on demand-side energy efficiency, including households and manufacturing plants. “Increased investment in energy efficiency will help make Asia’s energy sector more sustainable, affordable, and reliable. A growing number of countries are already implementing energy efficiency initiatives as a least-cost solution to meeting rising power demand, and ADB is keen to support such efforts,” it added.

Potential new investment by ADB could include support for energy-efficient public building upgrades, street lighting improvements, and upgrades of electricity metering devices. ADB may also look to promote energy-efficiency programs in utility companies and in state-owned industrial facilities, as well as provide financing mechanisms to help manufacturers phase out inefficient products more quickly.

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