Asian Bank Unveils Initiative to Generate 3GW of Solar

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". . .initiative will generate 3GW of solar power over the next three years."

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) says its Asian solar energy initiative will generate 3GW of solar power over the next three years.

The Asia Solar Energy Initiative (ASEI) will identify and develop large-capacity solar projects that will generate 3GW of solar power by 2012. ADB will provide US$2.25bn to finance the initiative, which is expected to leverage an additional US$6.75bn in solar power investments over the period.

"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. . .reducing greenhouse gas emissions," explains ADB Director General Rajat Nag.

"Sustainable solar energy can be the clean power of the future if there are appropriate incentive and financing mechanisms in place."

ASEI will make available a range of projects and finance- and knowledge-sharing mechanisms, to attract commercial banks and the private sector to invest in solar projects.

ASEI will also set a target of raising US$500 million from donor countries to 'buy down' the upfront capital costs of investing in solar, as well as design other innovative ways to attract private-sector investment.

Last year, ADB provided US$1.3bn for projects with clean energy components, exceeding its US$1bn target for the second year in a row. Starting in 2013, this target will increase to US$2bn/yr.

ADB has approved investment in a 73MW solar power plant in central Thailand, which could be one of the largest solar projects in the world and will be central to Thailand's efforts to generate more of its energy from domestic, renewable sources.

Currently, 90% of Thailand's electricity is generated from natural gas, coal and lignite. In an effort to diversify the energy mix and to promote renewable energy, the government has prepared an Alternative Energy Development Plan that will generate 20% of primary commercial energy from renewable sources by 2022.

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