The Asian Development Bank (ADB) today announced an Asian solar energy initiative to generate some 3,000 megawatts of solar power over the next three years.
'With energy demand projected to almost double in the Asia and Pacific region by 2030, there is an urgent need for innovative ways to generate power while at the same time reducing greenhouse gas emissions,' ADB Managing Director General Rajat Nag said at a press conference at ADB's 43rd Annual Meeting in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. 'Sustainable solar energy can be the clean power of the future if there are appropriate incentive and financing mechanisms in place.'
The ASEI will make available a range of projects, and finance and knowledge sharing mechanisms, so as to attract commercial banks and the private sector to invest in these projects. In addition to direct financing, ASEI will set a target of raising $500 million from donor countries to 'buy down' the high up-front capital costs of investing in solar energy, as well as design other innovative ways to attract private-sector investment.
Mr. Nag noted the significance of the ASEI launch taking place in Central Asia, a region that is particularly reliant on carbon-intensive energy sources but well-suited to solar energy development.
'Given Central Asia's growing demand for electricity, the availability of desert land for large- scale solar energy development, and their stated commitment to offset high carbon emissions, several countries in the region are excellent candidates for ADB support through this initiative,' Mr. Nag said.
ASEI will also establish and host the Solar Energy Forum, an international knowledge-sharing platform that will track solar development projects, discuss new solar power proposals and incentive mechanisms, and organize major conferences. The first conference of the Solar Energy Forum is scheduled for 5-6 July in Manila, Philippines.
Promoting the availability and use of clean energy is one of ADB's highest priorities. Last year ADB provided nearly $1.3 billion for projects with clean energy components, exceeding its $1 billion target for the second year in a row. Starting in 2013, this target will increase to $2 billion a year.