The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB’s) Board of Directors has approved a new energy policy to help Asia and Pacific countries secure adequate energy supplies while cutting levels of greenhouse gas emissions.

The 2009 Energy Policy is designed to help developing member countries provide reliable, adequate and affordable energy supplies to all citizens, as an integral part of ADB's Strategy 2020 of promoting inclusive and environmentally sustainable growth.

ADB Vice-President Ursula Schaefer-Preuss said in his introductory remarks to the Board of Directors on June 19 that the bank’s investments in the sector will focus on energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, along with expanding access to energy, particularly in remote rural regions where coverage remains limited.

It will also support sector reforms, improved governance and capacity building.

Starting from 2013, the ADB will increase its target of clean energy investments to 2 billion USD a year from a previous target of 1 billion USD, in a bid to accelerate low-carbon growth and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the region.

The new policy follows a review which acknowledges that the region’s dramatic economic growth over the past few decades has lifted millions of people from poverty.

However, nearly a billion people still lack access to electricity and Asia’s energy needs are expected to double by 2030, presenting major supply and energy security challenges as well as accelerating climate change./.