MANILA, PHILIPPINES (2 December 2021) — Energy efficiency projects in Central Asia represent a promising investment opportunity that can also help to reduce the region’s carbon emissions and meet its growing energy needs, participants at the region’s flagship energy investment event heard today.

“In the face of climate change, energy efficiency is one of the most potent tools to decarbonize the energy sector,” said Asian Development Bank (ADB) Vice-President Shixin Chen at the 5th Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Energy Investment Forum. “This is especially true in Central Asia which holds some of the world’s most energy-intensive economies.”

“Energy efficiency technologies exist, are affordable, and offer very good returns on investment—and that’s why they’re often labeled the fuel of first choice. They’re readily available to improve security of supply, affordability, and environmental protection,” added Mr. Chen. “The acceleration of energy efficiency will be among the most promising investment opportunities in the years to come.”

The CAREC Energy Investment Forum is a unique knowledge and networking event bringing together policy makers, financiers, and project developers to promote private investments in the energy sector in Central Asia.

Today’s virtual event, co-chaired by ADB and the Government of Azerbaijan, focused on energy efficiency—a key priority in a region suffering from old and aging infrastructure, low energy pricing, and a lack of policy and regulatory support. At the 4th Energy Investment Forum in 2019, CAREC Energy Ministers signed a historic declaration committing to doubling regional energy efficiency levels by 2030.

“To meaningfully accelerate investment in energy efficiency, we need robust financial intermediaries and a dynamic private sector to trigger a chain of secured financial returns and foster innovation,” said ADB Director General for Private Sector Operations Suzanne Gaboury. “It is the energy that we don’t use today that will save our energy needs of tomorrow.”

The region (excluding the People’s Republic of China) needs about $400 billion in energy sector investment by 2030 and governments acknowledge that the public sector alone can’t meet those financing needs. A CAREC Green Energy Alliance is being conceptualized to provide a platform to match investment-ready green projects with suitable financiers.

CAREC promotes economic growth and sustainable development through cooperation among its member countries, supported by development partners. ADB is the secretariat of the CAREC Program.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.

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