ADB: Asia-Pacific energy needs trillions

Nov. 5, 2009 at 5:41 PM
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TOKYO, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- The Asia-Pacific region needs to invest between $7 trillion and $9.7 trillion in the energy sector between 2005 and 2030 to meet the rapidly growing demand for energy, according to a report by the Asian Development Bank.

Regional energy demand is projected to grow 2.4 percent annually over the next 20 years, outpacing the world average of 1.5 percent, states the ADB report, "Energy Outlook for Asia and the Pacific," released Thursday.

It estimates that coal, oil and natural gas will continue to supply 80 percent of the Asia-Pacific region's energy supply in 2030, driving up CO2 emissions, ADB warns.

The study predicts that the use of coal will rise 2.1 percent annually over the next two decades to supply 38.3 percent of Asia-Pacific's energy needs by 2030. Oil will supply 27 percent, with 2.2 percent annual growth, while natural gas use will increase 3.6 percent per year to account for 14.5 percent of total energy demand.

Although new and renewable energy sources are forecast to be the region's fourth-biggest energy source by 2030, supplying 11 percent of the total, the report predicts that the sector will experience less growth than many industry experts are anticipating, with an annual rate of just 1.3 percent.

The report warns that based on current trends, oil imports to Asia-Pacific will nearly double 2005 levels by 2030, putting at risk the region's energy security.

Access to modern forms of energy is a necessary condition for economic development and a high standard of living, ADB said in a release. The study notes that in 2005 about 930 million people in the region did not have access to electricity.

"Cooperation among the economies is needed to enhance energy security and sustainable development in the region," ADB Vice President Lawrence Greenwood said. "This can be done through sharing policy information, facilitating energy trade and conducting joint energy projects."

The report, jointly published by ADB and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, was launched with a related report, "Energy Statistics in Asia and the Pacific (1990-2006)," during the Pacific Energy Summit in Tokyo. Both studies were undertaken by the Asia Pacific Energy Research Center of The Institute of Energy Economics of Japan.

The energy statistics report found that the Asia- Pacific region consumed 34 percent of the world's total primary energy supply in 2006. Yet the per capita electricity generation of 1,800 kilowatts in the region is still 37 percent below the world average of 2,870 kilowatts.

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