The Asia Clean Energy Forum 2017, co-hosted by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Korea Energy Agency (KEA) was held in Manila, Philippines, on 5th to 8th June 2017 with an objective of sharing best practices in policy, technology and finance to meet the region’s climate and energy security challenges.
The 12th Asia Clean Energy Forum, which focused on the theme “The Future Is Here: Achieving Universal Access and Climate Targets”, provided a platform to discuss how public and private sector stakeholders can best work to advance clean energy agenda in Asia. The Forum brought together potential investors, representatives of the United Nations and the High Commissions, as well as the Heads of the private, development and government organizations. At the Forum, the stakeholders agreed on the role of deploying advanced technologies in the region – including smart grids, mass energy storage, intelligent transport systems, smart cities, waste-to-energy, super energy efficient electrical appliances for demand side management and formulation of cutting-edge policy & regulatory framework to support their execution.
The 21 Deep Dive Workshops, 20 Thematic Track Sessions, three Plenary Sessions, Knowledge Networking Session and networking events covered a wide range of clean energy issues that need to be addressed to achieve national development, universal energy access and climate targets. Speakers talked about the new and innovative policy and regulatory frameworks; technology developments and applications; business models and grassroots entrepreneurial approaches; financing mechanisms; and more.
“Recovering nature is extra-ordinarily expensive and precautionary measures are already known and way cheaper than ever before”, Hiroshi Komiyama, President Emeritus at the University of Tokyo.
At the forum, University of Tokyo introduced the ‘Platinum Society Network’ in Japan which is striving to achieve a sustainable society that solves environmental, aging, educational and economic issues by forming a network of municipal governments, universities, research institutions, private enterprises and cities overseas. The network provides an opportunity to learn good practices and ways to address challenges from each other.
The key highlights are captured in the three broad categories as follows,
Combining Financing and Technology in Spotlight
There is a need to strengthen and scale up innovative mechanisms on financing Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Energy Access while addressing the cross-cutting theme of innovation and planning for a future clean energy system. ADB has recently sanctioned a $5 million equity investment in an American venture company with advanced battery technology to provide long-duration battery storage solutions in Indonesia. The technology, protected by over 219 patents (76 pending) will be used in renewable energy-based micro-grids that require long duration discharge. The power will support households as well as telecom towers in remote areas.
The second example pertains to the first Climate Bond in Asia. In 2016, ADB provided credit enhancement, in the form of a guarantee of 75% of principal and interest, to a $225 million local currency bond issued by Aboitiz PowerRenewables, a Philippine renewable energy company. [Read Speech of ADB President Takehiko Nakao]
The Forum witnessed discussions on multiple tools and resources to help governments and the private sector to accelerate clean energy investment. An example of this is the Clean Energy Investment Accelerator (CEIA), a Public – Private Partnership (PPP) to drive large-scale CE deployment, which engages corporations to secure and aggregate CE purchase commitments; works with donors to develop programs to grow the CE pipeline and close financing gaps; and addresses key regulatory and policy gaps. CEIA brings together blended capital to fund developing low-carbon businesses, provide working capital and technical assistance to renewable energy project developers, provide high-risk capital for first iterations of new renewable energy technology or proven technology in new markets, or aggregate pools of nationally investment-ready small scale projects so that they could be efficiently de-risked and funded.
The Energy Transition – Mainstreaming Renewables
Renewable power sources, most notably wind and solar are producing a significant and growing portion of the Asia’s electricity. Industry structures and business prototype have also evolved with the growth of instruments such as green bonds and publicly traded vehicles such as yieldcos and renewables-focused investment trusts making for deeper and more liquid markets.
Mr. Oliver Knight, Senior Energy Specialist, the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) in the World Bank highlighted The Global Solar Atlas, a free, web-based tool which help investors and policymakers identify potential sites for solar power generation virtually anywhere in the world. The tool displays annual average solar power potential and has the capacity to zoom into areas in great detail (with a spatial resolution of 1 km, or 0.6 of a mile). The tool also provides access to high resolution global and regional maps and geographic information system (GIS) data, enabling users to print poster maps and utilize the data in other applications. (Access Global Solar Atlas). GIS layers and poster maps showing global, regional, and country resource potential can be found in the Downloads section. Further description of the data provided, the methodology for estimating solar resource potential, and guidance on how to use it, can be found in the Knowledge Base section of the tool.
“Electricity production and the structure of energy consumption will continue to become cleaner in the next five to ten years. But the process of the transition is still facing a lot of uncertainty”, Dr. Sun Xiansheng, Secretary General of the International Energy Forum.
Multiple factors have pushed renewables to the core of the power industry. First and foremost is the increasing cost competitiveness of wind and solar technology. Using readily available input data, the G-res tool provides a way to assess GHG impacts without the need for large-scale field measurement campaigns and multi-year studies. The G-res tool is a publicly available web-based tool that allows hydropower companies, investors, consultants, decision-makers and other stakeholders to more accurately report on the net impact on GHG emissions resulting from the introduction of a reservoir in a landscape, whether for an existing or planned reservoir. [Access the tool here].
Energy Access and Capacity Building
Energy efficiency is considered by many to be the “first fuel,” as it is competitive, cost effective and widely available. However, the deployment of energy efficiency measures often requires awareness raising and capacity building initiatives. It is important for stakeholders to consider and develop new perspectives for looking at how to scale up energy access, to break from conventional approaches, and more creative thinking is needed on integration and combination.
“The last mile is no longer just the rural and remote poor, but now includes urban and underserved people. Good energy access strategies must take an ecosystem approach”, Soma Dutta, Programme Coordinator, Women’s Economic Empowerment Programme, ENERGIA.
Mikell O’Mealy, Activity Manager for CEADIR’s sustainable landscapes and clean energy support in Asia, highlighted that the derisking instruments for clean energy investment should be shared widely among stakeholders and optimally utilized while facilitating the corporate demand for clean energy procurement. She also informed that the Clean Energy Solutions Center (the Solutions Center) helps governments to design and adopt policies and programs that support the deployment of transformational low-carbon technologies. The Solutions Center offers no-cost clean energy policy assistance through a global network of more than 30 experts for government policy makers and the technical institutes assisting them, online training and webinars, and peer-to-peer learning to help countries tailor solutions to their needs and foster international collaboration on policy innovations.
Asia LEDS Partnership looks forward to facilitate webinars and post the guidance materials on the above said tools including G-res and Global Solar Atlas, all in one section of ALP website for easy access to the users, prepare blogs on the tools and methodologies that are useful for Asian Countries and invite the tool/methodology content owners to contribute to the blogs on successful case studies, uses and applications. Finance is a crucial factor for implementing large-scale CE projects; Multi level governance is also a key for effectively implementing and achieving NDC targets. ALP, through its Remote Expert Assistance on LEDS (REAL) could help National governments to advance LEDS by providing technical assistance across various thematic areas including Energy, Finance, transport, Sub-National Integration and AFOLU.
The content is prepared based on the discussions from the Asia Clean Energy Forum 2017, 5th to 8th June, 2017 in Manila, Philippines. Please feel free to download the presentations from Deep Dive Workshops and the Thematic Track Sessions at ACEF 2017 from here.