Same energy, more power: accelerating energy efficiency in Asia

Most analysts project that we’ll need a number of technological solutions to decarbonize energy system and address climate change.  Energy efficiency is the approach that involves doing more with less through a number of initiatives to reduce energy waste.  Some estimates - such as the Energy Technology Perspectives report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) have this as solution that makes by far the biggest contribution in emissions reduction -  42% of the total from all technologies put together.

A good way to think about what is needed for energy efficiency is to think of it from the perspective of supply side or demand side.  Supply side energy efficiency (SSEE) relates to improved efficiency in the supply of electricity and heat - such as making a power plant more efficient.  Demand side energy efficiency relates to how we use the energy - more efficient products and appliances, transport, building designs or industrial operations. 

Why this report matters for countries making a Cleanleap

This report lists the commitments that China, India and Southeast Asian countries have made to energy efficiency and what is clear from the analysis is that energy efficiency is good “bang for the buck.  Malaysia, for example, is investing 1% of its total energy budget into energy efficiency which will provide a 21% increase in meeting the country’s energy demands whereas Indonesia will put in 4% and get a 25% uplift.

Energy use varies widely in Asia. Per capita, the PRC, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Viet Nam, on average, consume just 25% of the amount of energy used in Japan; the Republic of Korea; and Taipei,China, and some 10% of the energy consumed in the United States (US). But two trends - rapid economic growth and urbanization - are happening in all of these countries (and pretty much every country we focus on for Cleanleap).  These are the primary factors driving up per capita energy demand. Combined this per capita increase with massive populations and it shows just how important improving energy efficiency is - for all countries.

The ADB is funding energy efficiency projects throughout Asia - from 2005 - 2011, 63 of its projects had a DSEE component.  This report goes through case studies for some of the key projects, including projects in China, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.  As a funder of many energy projects in Asia the ADB realizes just how important these measures are for countries looking to take a Cleanleap.  As you’ll read in this report - energy efficiency is something we should always be striving for - at the same time as we try and make energy cleaner in the first. place.