May 3, 2010 / 10:38 AM / in 8 years

Asian Development Bank launches $9 bln solar energy initiative

TASHKENT (Reuters) - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Monday launched an ambitious project it hopes will attract $6.75 billion of private investment into solar energy projects in the region over the next three years.

The Manila-based multinational lender, which unveiled the initiative at its annual meeting in the Uzbek capital Tashkent, said it would provide an additional $2.25 billion to support a project to generate 3,000 megawatts of solar power by 2012.

Though small in scale, the initiative will mark an important step toward meeting a larger portion of Asia’s growing energy demand with clean energy, ADB officials said.

The bank did not specify target regions, but said Central Asia’s growing electricity demand, as well as its abundant desert and commitments to offset high carbon emissions, made the area a strong candidate for investment.

“With energy demand projected to almost double in the Asia and Pacific region by 2030, there is an urgent need for innovative ways to generate power while at the same time reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” ADB Managing Director General Rajat Nag said in a statement.

“Sustainable solar energy can be the clean power of the future if there are appropriate incentive and financing mechanisms in place,” he said.

The ADB said it would set up a separate $500 million fund to help kickstart the Asia Solar Energy Initiative by covering some of the high start-up costs.

ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda told reporters the initiative would be a “major platform for sharing information on solar technologies, projects, products and issues, and facilitate the transfer of financial resources to developing countries to reduce technology costs.”

The ADB last year provided nearly $1.3 billion for projects with clean energy components. From 2013, its target investment in the sector will increase to $2 billion a year.

Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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