fbpx ADB's Focus on Energy: Overview | Asian Development Bank


With Asia and the Pacific’s energy demand projected to double by 2030, about 200 million people without electricity and more than 1.7 billion people without access to clean cooking, ADB is committed to helping its developing member countries achieve access to clean energy for all.

ADB's Work in the Energy Sector

ADB is helping Tajikistan rehabilitate the Nurek Hydroelectric Power Plant, which produces over 70% of the country's electricity.
ADB is helping Tajikistan rehabilitate the Nurek Hydroelectric Power Plant, which produces over 70% of the country's electricity. Photo: Nozim Kalandarov/ADB

ADB has been providing assistance to its developing member countries in the energy sector for more than 40 years. Its support has been focused on:

  • enhancing access to clean and modern energy
  • scaling up the deployment of renewable energy
  • strengthening electricity transmission and distribution systems to integrate more renewable energy
  • improving demand-side energy efficiency in buildings, transport and industries
  • promoting power sector reforms governance  and regional integration.

ADB Energy Policy

ADB's 2009 Energy Policy aims to help developing member countries provide reliable, adequate, and affordable energy for economic growth in a socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable way. The policy enables ADB energy operations to be aligned with the organization’s overall strategy of emphasizing energy security, facilitating a transition to a low-carbon economy and universal energy access, and for achieving ADB’s vision of a region free of poverty. The energy policy review is in progress to ensure it is aligned with Sustainable Development Agenda and Paris Agreement on climate change.

The 3 Pillars of ADB's Energy Policy

Promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy

ADB is working to introduce advanced technologies to increase energy efficiency in the region while also increasing the share of renewable energy in the region’s energy mix. ADB has integrated clean energy into its project development process and has put in place financing to help decrease the cost of clean energy projects. It has launched initiatives for the rapid deployment of low-carbon technologies in the region.

Maximizing access to energy for all

ADB is broadening its support for greater energy access not only financially, but also by identifying innovative solutions and sharing information with partner development institutions, national governments and the private sector. These innovative solutions include deploying distributed renewable energy, developing appropriate business models that enable and build markets for clean energy, and harnessing multiple benefits from working with other sectors and industries.

Promoting energy sector reform, capacity building, and governance

ADB continues to engage governments in policy dialogues to determine needed sector reforms and promote good governance. This involves helping developing member countries implement policies, regulations and incentives that will allow power systems to transition to clean energy, ensure universal access and provide affordable, reliable and sustainable supply.

Clean Energy Program

The ADB Clean Energy Program aims to lower energy-related emissions, extend supply of modern energy services to all, and improve economy-wide energy efficiency to effectively reduce the rate of growth of energy demand. All these objectives will help ADB DMCs attain energy security.

Among the activities that ADB is implementing under the program are (i) expansion of clean energy investments in DMCs; (ii) implementation of demand-side clean energy components in ADB-funded projects in water, transport, urban, and agriculture sectors; and (iii) monitoring of the pipeline of clean energy projects and achievements against the outcome indicators of the 2009 Energy Policy.

The Clean Energy Program includes energy efficiency, renewable energy, energy access, carbon financing, climate technology deployment, and policy and regulatory development. All these areas are meant to reinforce each other and propel ADB DMCs to a low-carbon growth paths.

Energy Issues in Asia and the Pacific

Energy demand is projected to almost double in the Asia and Pacific region by 2030. Widespread energy poverty across Asia has curtailed development. In 2018, developing Asia had about 200 million people without access to electricity, and 1.7 billion without access to clean cooking.1 Innovative ways to generate power in a socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable manner are imperative and urgent.

This section highlights the energy issues and trends that ADB has identified as priorities in developing Asia and the Pacific to achieve access to clean energy for all, and contribute to meeting global climate goals under the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

Access to Energy

Access to Energy

Access to modern, cleaner energy is essential to sustainable human development. The majority of the world’s energy poor are living in Asia and the Pacific.

Clean Energy

Clean Energy

Energy efficiency is emerging as one of the key options that can help nations in Asia and the Pacific meet the region's growing energy needs in a clean and effective way.

Regional Cooperation

Regional Cooperation

Regional cooperation can play a vital role in ensuring energy security in a sustainable manner. Subregional power trade can help meet energy demand, and maximize scarce natural resources.

Sector Governance and Reform

Sector Governance and Reform

Policies, capabilities and institutions are just as important as transmission and distribution lines or solar parks.