2012 Clean Energy Investments: Project Summaries

Publication | March 2013

This report summarizes the investments in clean energy made by the operations departments of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in 2012, condensing information from project databases and formal reports in an easy-to-reference format.

In 2012, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) achieved clean energy investments of $2.3 billion, continuing a remarkable level of investment in the sector. Previously, in 2008, ADB set a target to reach $2 billion annually in clean energy investment by 2013 - this target was met 2 years ahead of schedule in 2011. ADB then pledged to continue to meet its $2 billion goal annually until 2013. This year's results confirm that ADB's later pledge also has been realized, and shows its continued commitment to a policy of supporting clean energy development in as many sectors and ways as possible.

This strategy, enshrined in ADB's 2009 Energy Policy, has been proven to have correctly anticipated the high interest and enormous appetite for clean energy that exists among the developing countries of Asia and the Pacific.

Key Findings

Analysts have described 2012 as the year when established markets shrank, but lower prices for major renewable technologies encouraged growth in developing countries. Some of the report's key findings include:

  • Global clean energy investments in 2012 declined by 11% compared to 2011, but 2012 still remained the second highest year on record with $268.7 billion directed to the sector. Industry experts attribute the recent fall in investment to regulatory uncertainty in major markets and to changes in policy, specifically the end of subsidy and incentive programs;
  • The People's Republic of China represented the world's largest market for wind energy in 2012. More than a third of all new wind power capacity (35% or 15 gigawatts) was installed in the People's Republic of China last year. Wind is now the PRC's third largest energy source after coal and hydropower;
  • Prices for equipment and the operation and maintenance of wind and solar all have dropped, making these options more affordable for developing countries;
  • ADB's strong support for solar continues with $247 million invested in 2012. Through its Asia Solar Energy Initiative, ADB aims to catalyze the development of three additional gigawatts of solar power in the region, and so far, has supported 1056 megawatts of new solar-related investment. ADB's investment record supports this conclusion; and
  • Also popular in 2012 were newer technologies including waste-to-energy, and so-called 'energy smart' technologies to improve energy efficiency on both the supply and demand side and in electric vehicles.

Of ADB's total clean energy investment of $2.3 billion, the majority (58%) were public sector or sovereign loans totaling $1.4 billion, while the remaining $996 million (42%) went to the private sector. Both public and private sector investments increased by some $100 million each compared to 2011 numbers.

In terms of clean energy by project type, ADB's renewable energy investments make up the largest share. Investments in renewables amounted to $1.3 billion in 2012, up by $200 million compared to 2011. Energy efficiency investments remained strong in 2012, with $974 billion invested. This represented a slight expansion from $950 million in 2011, but a significant increase compared to the $340 million invested in 2010.


  • Executive Summary
  • Central and West Asia Department
  • East Asia Department
  • Private Sector Operations Department
  • South Asia Department
  • Southeast Asia Department
  • Appendixes