(Jun 26, 2007)

Asian bank says government must promote clean energy

By Michael Casey
From AP

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) - Asian governments must promote clean energy such as wind and solar power to maintain their booming economies and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in coming decades, the Asian Development Bank said Tuesday.

Environment groups have criticized the Asia bank and other institutional lenders in recent years for funding conventional energy projects like coal-fired power plants while largely ignoring renewable energy.

The bank increased its annual spending on clean energy to $1 billion this year.

''Asia faces a particularly daunting challenge in securing the energy it needs to support growth and poverty reduction in a responsible, sustainable manner,'' Bank President Haruhiko Kuroda said in a speech opening a three-day clean energy forum at the bank's headquarters in Manila.

''Clean energy, including energy efficiency and renewable energy, needs to be actively promoted,'' he said.

''Developing countries should be encouraged to explore possibilities for renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar, and biofuels.''

Delegates at the conference, co-sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development, are expected to discuss how to promote and roll out clean energy projects in Asia. They will also address how to finance clean energy projects, including establishing carbon trading schemes, which are relatively unknown in Asia.

Philippine Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla said the challenge many developing countries like his face is funding renewable energy projects, which he said are often up to three times more costly than conventional sources.

Despite Philippine requirements that 5 percent of fuels come from ethanol by 2008 and a draft bill that would mandate up to 10 percent of energy come from renewable sources, the Philippines still is struggling to boost energy from renewables, Lotilla said.

The meeting comes two months after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations network of 2,000 scientists, said the world has to make significant cuts to its greenhouse gas emissions.

The bank estimates the Asian region will need at least $4 trillion in new energy infrastructure before 2030, with much of that being directed toward electricity supplied by coal-fired power plants.


On the Net:

Asian Development Bank's Web Site

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