Opening Remarks at the Closing Plenary of the Asia Clean Energy Forum 2018 - Takehiko Nakao | Asian Development Bank

Opening Remarks at the Closing Plenary of the Asia Clean Energy Forum 2018 - Takehiko Nakao

Speech | 7 June 2018

Opening remarks at the closing plenary of the Asia Clean Energy Forum 2018 by ADB President Takehiko Nakao on 7 June 2018 in ADB headquarters, Manila, Philippines

I. Introduction

Honored guests, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen:

Good afternoon. On behalf of ADB, I would like to thank the co-organizers of the Asia Clean Energy Forum—the United States Agency for International Development represented by Ms. Carrie Thompson, and the Korea Energy Agency represented by Director General Young-man Woo.

The Asia Clean Energy Forum this year has the participation of over 1,000 people from more than 50 countries. I am pleased that entrepreneurs, policymakers, financial institutions, NGOs, and academia have gathered here under the theme “Harnessing Innovation to Power the Future.”  

In particular, I would like to congratulate the awardees of the New Energy Leaders during this Forum. These young entrepreneurs have been very successful in deploying innovative clean energy technologies in Asian developing countries.

Discussions during the Forum have examined innovative energy options with respect to renewable energy, energy efficiency, and access to energy. We have heard many concrete ideas about innovation during the course of the Forum. 

As we close the Forum today, I would like to speak about how ADB has contributed to Asia’s energy sector and how ADB can implement more innovative energy projects in the region.   

II. ADB’s contribution to Asia’s energy

Since the establishment of ADB in 1966, Asia and the Pacific has transformed from a region with high poverty to one of incredible growth and innovation. Today, Asia accounts for one-third of global GDP and it contributes to more than half the world’s economic growth.

Yet, large challenges remain, and new ones are emerging. In Asia and the Pacific, still 330 million people live in absolute poverty on less than $1.90 a day. In the energy sector, 440 million people lack access to electricity in developing Asia. Securing energy access for these people, most of whom live in remote rural areas and islands, will depend on innovative technologies. 

ADB has made significant contributions in energy development, but we need to do more. In 2017, our total approvals of loans and grants in the energy sector amounted to over $6.3 billion, with an additional $4.6 billion in cofinancing with bilateral, multilateral, and commercial partners. Our climate mitigation finance in energy reached over $2 billion, and together with contributions from other sectors such as transport and urban, total mitigation finance was $3.4 billion in 2017. We are on track toward our target of doubling annual climate finance to $6 billion by 2020, out of which $4 billion is for mitigation. 

On ADB’s funding side, since 2015, our green bond program has raised $3.3 billion, of which about half has been committed to renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. The remaining half went to the transport sector.

III. ADB’s innovation in projects

To meet the energy and climate challenges of our future, ADB is responding with innovation across our projects. 

Technological advances are unfolding with unprecedented speed. New technologies such as smart grids, large-scale battery energy storage, renewable energy-based microgrids with storage, waste-to-energy, carbon capture and storage, and artificial intelligence have huge potentials to accelerate the clean energy transformation.

But technology by itself is not enough. Projects with advanced technologies must be accompanied by viable business models, stable regulation, and smart policies to deploy the technologies. 

Let me give you a few recent examples of innovative ADB-supported projects in clean energy.

First, in Sri Lanka, ADB is providing $200 million for a 100 MW wind power generation project—the first ever large-scale wind power project in the country. The experience from this innovative project has catalyzed the government’s plans to develop more renewable power, in collaboration with the private sector.

Second, in the Philippines, ADB provided technical assistance and grant funds for a solar-diesel mini-grid on Cobrador Island. This is a pilot project to provide 24-hour access to electricity for remote islands and rural areas. It will increase electricity access while reducing dependence on fossil fuels, demonstrating a solution that can be applied in other places. 

Third, in the new city of Xiong-an in the People's Republic of China, ADB provided $250 million in loans to a joint venture of Chinese and Icelandic companies to expand district heating services based on geothermal technology. This is a good example of collaboration between innovative energy companies in Europe and Asia.

These are just a few examples of ADB’s work on innovative clean energy systems.

IV. Reinventing ADB

Currently, ADB is developing a new long-term Strategy 2030 to expand our vision to achieve a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific. The strategy will emphasize advanced technologies to support the broad range of development needs in Asia and the Pacific. 

In order to better use high-level technology in our operations, we must change the way we do business and motivate ADB staff to promote innovative approaches. We must reinvent ADB. I will touch upon six of the recent efforts at ADB.

First, better combining finance with knowledge. We are strengthening our role as a provider and facilitator of tacit and explicit knowledge. We started the system of a pool of experts located in the Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department. These experts are working across the five regional departments and the Private Sector Operations Department. In the energy sector, they are leveraging operational impact by promoting advanced technologies such as smart grids, energy storage, and waste-to-energy. 

Second, emphasizing quality in procurement. ADB has initiated reforms in our project preparation and procurement to give greater weight to quality and advanced technologies. We will consider life-cycle cost effectiveness.

Third, supporting the preparation of pilot projects. We established with the support of donors the High-Level Technology Fund to prepare pilot projects incorporating advanced technologies. This trust fund has already supported a micro-grid project in the Pacific and large battery storage to integrate wind power in Pakistan.

Fourth, mobilizing private sector resources. We cannot meet the region’s large energy financing needs without mobilizing private sector resources together with their expertise. ADB will further expand and diversify our private sector operations and promote the effective use of public–private partnerships. 

Fifth, working as One ADB. The One ADB approach will break down silos and bring together expertise across ADB. Topics we discussed this week demonstrate the crosscutting work of ADB’s teams: electric vehicles need the expertise of both the power sector and transport sector, and floating solar plants on hydro reservoirs need energy and water knowledge. 

Sixth, differentiating our approach to adapt to country needs. We are supporting targeted technologies and solutions that are aligned with a country’s development status, geography, natural resources, and specific energy requirements. 

V. Conclusion

Ladies and gentlemen: 

The Asia Clean Energy Forum fosters dialogue among clean energy leaders and stakeholders to harness new technologies in the energy sector. 

Through innovation we can achieve the dual objective of universal access to energy by 2030 and climate mitigation and resilience in Asia and the Pacific. 

We look forward to meeting you again next year.

Thank you.