Asia Technology Comes Clean to Provide Green Solutions


"China is spending nearly twice as much as U.S. on renewable energy projects."

BBC, Richard Anderson

asia clean tech

China is spending tens of billions of dollars every year on renewable energy projects—almost twice the next biggest spender in this field, the U.S.—while South Korea's clean energy capacity more than tripled in 2009.

Asia is not, then, the environmental laggard some in the West would have us believe.

In fact, growth in what the industry calls the clean tech, or environmental technology, sector looks set to take off.

The figures speak for themselves.

The population of Asia is expected to grow at more than double the rate of Europe and the US in the next five years, during which time the region's economy should grow four times more quickly than Europe's, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

This helps to explain why demand for energy in Southeast Asia should rise by 76% in the next 20 years, the IMF says.

And an increasing proportion of this energy will come from clean technologies—governments and indeed peoples demand it.

"Asia is really interested in the environment - you just have to look at China's latest five-year economic plan [which commits to stringent renewable energy targets, among others]" says Vivek Tandon, co-founder of Aloe Private Equity, an investment group specializing in Asian clean tech.

In fact there are three major drivers behind the push for green technologies in Asia, according to Johanna Klein, investment officer at the Asian Development Bank: energy security, environmental degradation and, perhaps most importantly, the need for new industries to create new jobs.

But the introduction and innovation of new technologies require private investment - public money can only go so far.

The global clean tech market is currently worth about $500B, with Asia accounting for $100B. There are however, just 17 specialist funds worth $1B investing in environmental technologies in the region.

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