USAID Clean Power Asia
Harnessing the power of renewable energy for a sustainable ASEAN
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During his first moments in the Oval Office on Wednesday, President Biden returned the United States to the Paris climate accord and directed federal agencies to begin unraveling Donald Trump’s environmental policies — the first step in what Biden has vowed will be a sustained effort to safeguard the nation’s air and water, protect endangered species and combat climate change at home and abroad. Biden’s executive order recommitting the United States to the international struggle to slow global warming fulfilled a campaign promise and represented a stark repudiation of the “America First” approach of Trump, who officially withdrew the nation from the Paris agreement Nov. 4 after years of disparaging it. Biden also ordered federal agencies to review scores of climate and environmental policies enacted during the Trump years and, if possible, to quickly reverse them.
Global annual investment in low carbon technologies surpassed $US500 billion ($A650 billion) for the first time in 2020, overcoming a year complicated by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to analysts BloombergNEF. In its latest annual clean energy investment report, BloombergNEF estimates that $US501.3 billion was invested in technologies dedicated to decarbonisation last year, beating 2019 by 9 per cent, as electric vehicles and wind and solar power each attached record levels of investment. Of this amount, BloombergNEF said more than $US300 million was invested in new renewable energy capacity, 2 percent more than the previous year, while investment in electric vehicles and associated infrastructure grew by a massive 28 per cent, setting a new annual record with $US139 billion of investment.
The Department of Energy (DOE) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) have partnered to increase private investments in advanced energy technology to ensure energy security in the country. The DOE and USAID kicked off Wednesday the three-day Energy Secure Philippines (ESP) activity co-design workshop, which aims to promote private investments in the energy sector. “The US remains a solid ally and one of the country’s major trading partners. We are hopeful that our collaboration to promote energy security and development will be sustained and even enhanced,” DOE Secretary Alfonso Cusi said. The virtual workshop between DOE and USAID will set the targets and strategies for the ESP, update tasks and interventions of the government to lure energy investments from the private sector, identify potential partnerships under ESP, and improve the implementation of the program.
Governments across Southeast Asia accelerate renewable energy investment to revive the pandemic-hit economies
In the pre Covid-19 world, energy transition was already at the forefront of the minds of policymakers and investors in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Renewable energy infrastructure investment in the region had been strong, reflecting government efforts to reduce carbon emissions, as well as due to the lower costs involved, given cheaper technology and economies of scale. Although construction activity in the sector weakened significantly in 2020 due to fiscal constraints as governments diverted budgets towards social expenditure, investment in the renewable sector is expected to pick up quickly. To improve the renewable energy capacity and revive the pandemic-hit economies, ASEAN governments have laid out an aspirational five-year sustainability plan under the second phase of ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation (APAEC) 2021-2025.