Call for Abstracts

(Now Closed)

About the Thematic Tracks at ACEF 2020

The Thematic Tracks at ACEF provide space for detailed discussions on various sub-sectors and topics of interest in the energy transition. Each track is curated by an ADB staff to reflect areas of concern and interest in ADB’s work with its developing member countries (DMCs), and with the energy sector more broadly. There will be 5 thematic tracks at ACEF 2020:

  • Enhancing Roadmaps for Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)
  • Building Energy Sector Resilience
  • Multi-sector Approaches to Clean Energy Development: "Energy ++”
  • FCAS and SIDS: Resilience in the Face of Fragility and Conflict
  • Covid-19 Impacts on Energy Systems, and Policy Responses

Guidance for Development of Abstracts

The ACEF program is developed based on submission of abstracts targeted at specific, predefined clean energy topics, organized into topic areas (the Thematic Tracks). Submissions should be based on successful (or in some cases unsuccessful!) experiences in the design, implementation, and/or evaluation of projects, programs, initiatives, and business models.

Broadly speaking, we prefer abstracts that are more practical than theoretical, and that cover innovations in technology and energy systems. Abstracts can cover new and proven approaches to policy development through both private and public sector collaboration; investment and financing opportunities that help drive the market; community and grassroots initiatives; creative business models and approaches that are gaining traction in Asia; and detailed case studies of best practices and lessons learned throughout the energy and related sectors in Asia.

We encourage abstracts that fit into the session topics below while also addressing the 7 Operational Priorities in ADB’s Strategy 2030:

  • Addressing poverty and reducing inequalities
  • Accelerating progress in gender equality
  • Tackling climate change, building climate and disaster resilience, and enhancing environmental sustainability
  • Making cities more livable
  • Promoting rural development and food security
  • Strengthening governance and institutional capacity
  • Fostering regional cooperation and integration

Additionally, for abstract submissions for all of the Thematic Tracks, we encourage thoughts and ideas on the impacts of, and responses to, COVID-19 from an energy perspective.

The deadline for submission of abstracts has been extended to Friday, 24 April 2020, at Midnight Manila time (+8 GMT). Submissions must be short (no more than 150 words). For more information about ACEF, you can sign up to receive updates from our newsletter or you can also follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and on Facebook. If you have any questions, please contact us at

Nationally determined contributions (NDCs) are at the heart of the Paris Agreement, and are key to achieving the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 to 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels. Innovative technologies and business models are needed by DMCs to facilitate and expedite transitions, and infrastructure investment must be “future-proofed” to account for rapid technological evolution and climate change. This track will provide a forum for exchanging country experiences with the implementation of NDCs; discussing technical issues and political processes related to NDCs; identifying NDC-related challenges that are arising in countries across the region; and discussing lessons learned and possible solutions for timely submission of NDCs.

Session 1.1: Overview of NDC Implementation in Context of Climate Change in Asia and the Pacific

This section will review the implementation of NDCs in the Asia-Pacific region over the past 5 years, and will identify gaps between targets and implementation to date. By sharing information among countries on the implementation of NDCs, countries will learn from each other about possible ways and means to incorporate energy development into the next round of NDC processes. The session will also include discussions about how to scientifically and reasonably set NDC goals for the NDC update in 2020.

Potential topics in this session could include:

  • Implementation status of NDC in the context of climate change and an update on NDCs in Asia and the Pacific
  • NDC-related progress and country perspectives on NDC goals (country level)
  • NDC related progress and city perspectives on NDC goals (city level or ecosystem/river level)
  • How to update and Implement NDC Targets in 2020

Session 1.2: Rural Clean Energy: A Crucial Solution for NDCs

Rural areas cannot be a neglected part in the development of NDC targets for Asia and the Pacific countries. The development of rural clean energy is crucial to the realization of countries’ NDC goals. This session will feature successful cases of rural clean energy initiatives, and discuss challenges in their development. The discussions will cover clean heating, gas distribution, refrigeration, rural power grids and other technologies. This session will provide reference experience for the rural energy development of DMCs and meanwhile call for attention to rural development in NDC. We welcome submissions on topics that support ADB’s Operational Priority to address poverty and reduce inequalities. 

Potential topics in this session could include:

  • Innovative micro- and mini grids with renewables in remote areas, as a strategy to reduce emissions from conventional diesel mini-grids[Philippine, Indonesia, etc.]
  • Community-based (and community-owned) energy systems and business models
  • Analysis of the socio-economic impacts of rural energy
  • Rural clean heating, gas distribution, and other applications and end uses and applications

Session 1.3: Technology Roadmaps for Key Technologies: Approaches and Findings

The revisions of NDCs in 2020 are an opportunity to put countries on a climate-compatible pathway, via appropriate target-setting for effective clean energy technologies. The main contributors for drastic emissions reductions for a global energy transformation are i) renewable energy, ii) energy efficiency measures and iii) increased electrification of end-uses such as heating and transport. These are also essential technologies for ADB projects under the 7 Operational Priorities in ADB’s Strategy 2030.

This session will include discussion of the technology developments in renewables and energy efficiency, electrification, and other sectors, and approaches for setting more ambitious target in energy roadmaps with regulatory changes needed for the NDCs. Speakers will include international practitioners, ADB professionals, and officials from ADB’s developing member countries (DMCs).

Potential topics in this session could include:

  • Challenges and solutions for higher penetration of renewable energy into existing power grids (focused on government agencies and grid companies in ADB’s DMCs)
  • Synergies between the power sector and electrification of other sectors, such as heat and transport. (e.g., EV100 members, developers of EV charging infrastructure, and utilities and government agencies in ADB’s DMCs]
  • Application of innovative digital technology to overcome the challenges in ambitious energy roadmaps
  • Energy efficiency in the demand-side, especially the building sector (targeting executing agencies in ADB’s DMCs)
  • sub-regional energy roadmap in Asia and the Pacific
  • Energy roadmap in a country or city
  • Strategies for optimizing energy systems

Session 1.4: Technology Roadmaps for Key Technologies: Deep Dives at the Country and Regional Level

Presentations in this session will provide in-depth analyses of specific new technologies, describe their role in a national or regional context, and demonstrate how they contribute to achievement of NDC goals. Decision-makers will gain an appreciation of the importance of energy roadmaps in the context of climate change mitigation and adaptation, and their role in meeting ambitious NDC targets. We welcome submissions with a regional focus that support ADB’s Operational Priority to foster regional cooperation and integration (RCI). 

 Potential topics in this session could include:

  • Hydrogen potential, global roadmaps, and strategies for deployment
  • Heating and cooking
  • The digital transition, transmission and distribution technologies
  • Solar energy for energy access and climate change

Since the approval of its Energy Policy 2009, about two-thirds of ADB’s energy investment operations have been in energy supply, including electricity generation, transmission and distribution, and fuel supply such as LNG export and import terminals, gas pipelines, and urban gas distribution systems. Overall, the majority of investment has been in electricity supply systems. Under ADB’s Strategy 2030, energy supply is an enabling activity for the 7 Operational Priorities that cut across ADB’s traditional sector silos. ADB’s energy-sector investments need to shift from an emphasis on energy supply to focus more on value-added activities behind and beyond the meter that meet the Operational Priorities. These could include food security, sustainable cities, poverty reduction, and gender empowerment.

Three broad end-use categories account for the vast majority of all global final energy consumption:

  1. heating (including industrial processes) accounts for nearly half (48%) of final consumption, and of this traditional biomass provides one-sixth (16%), modern renewables other than electricity provide 8.4%, and renewable electricity provides 1.9%;
  2. transport accounts for nearly one-third (32%) of final consumption, with 2.8% of this provided by biofuels and 0.3% from electricity; and
  3. electricity accounts for 20%, with one quarter (25%) of this from renewable resources.

ADB and its peer institutions have done a good job at decarbonizing electricity and are starting to make some progress in transport and heat. This session will highlight ADB’s experience in energy end uses in sustainable infrastructure, cleaner production, the circular economy and related activities required to facilitate the global energy transition. We welcome submissions for this track that support ADB’s Operational Priority to make cities more livable.

Session 2.1: Economy-wide Energy Evolution

To deliver a sustainable energy future, it will be essential to engage with stakeholders across the economy, beyond the energy sector, in order to shape the future of energy supply, demand, use, and capacity. Multiple economic sectors affect energy demand and continued to expanded energy access, while supporting the region’s transition to a low-carbon path of development using advanced technologies, new business models and other innovative designs.

This session will bring together regional experts and innovators, along with officials from ADB’s DMCs, to present recent experience developing sustainable energy with value additions from multiple sectors. Presentations can include case studies from education, policy, legal, and regulatory spheres to support the shift from an inefficient, linear extractive economy to a more efficient, cleaner, and inherently sustainable circular economy. Speakers may come from a variety of sectors, including education, law & regulation, energy services, and others, with priority placed on speakers from Asia and the Pacific.

Potential topics in this session could include:

  • Education and vocational/technical training for workforce readiness
  • Legal and regulatory reforms required for the energy transition: renewable energy, energy efficiency, energy storage, new technologies and business models, etc.
  • Energy planning for services other than electricity
  • Successes in energy efficiency and next-generation grid. This may include programs and policies that work to unlock artificial intelligence and automation, virtual power plants, or other approaches to provide affordable and reliable energy services.
  • Real solutions for clean energy materials and life-cycle management. This may include materials re-use for renewables or battery components, end-of-life management and disposal, successful models for hazardous waste management in DMCs, and eco-industrial parks.

Session 2.2: Solar Energy—It’s Not Just Electricity

Solar energy development in the last 10 years has been dominated by solar PV for electricity, with cost reductions accruing due to the inherent economies of scale in manufacturing. Consistent with ADB’s Strategy 2030, investment needs to shift to other sustainable, value-added end-uses, including solar-powered water supply (desalination, and water from air); digital precision agriculture for food security (climate-proof greenhouses, urban vertical farms); concentrating solar power for heat applications (industrial heat and steam, district heating); solar energy applications in the health sector; and solar-powered air-conditioning and space cooling; and power to gas.

Potential topics in this session could include:

  • Climate-smart agriculture using water from solar powered desalination
  • Concentrating solar thermal systems for industrial applications
  • Solar + hydrogen for 24/7 electricity services
  • Solar irrigation and solar ice production
  • ADB’s floating solar experience and portfolio
  • Solar energy applications in the health sector

Session 2.3: Renewable Energy Services for Livelihoods

Although solar energy is the single largest source of energy available to planet earth, the transition from fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas) requires solar energy and energy carriers (like hydrogen), and it requires harnessing other renewable resources. Traditional energy planning has emphasized going from fossil fuels to applications for consumers, with technologies applied as appropriate. Under Strategy 2030 ADB needs to work from applications (consumers) back to available resources with appropriate technologies. This means that ADB has to help consumers develop value-added end uses for the last 10 feet of the last mile.

Potential topics in this session could include:

  • Regenerative ocean biomass energy
  • Pico- and micro-hydropower for high-value agriculture
  • Experience with hydro, solar, and wind for sustainable village development
  • Beneficial use of geothermal waste heat for community livelihood support
  • Refrigeration/cold chain services for expanding access to fisheries industries

Session 2.4: Air Quality Improvement Program in the Greater Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Region

It is possible for ADB to support multiple Operational Priorities of its Strategy 2030 with a multi-year, multi-sector investment program, and the air quality improvement program in the greater Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei (BTH) region is perhaps the best such example in ADB’s portfolio today. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has been suffering from severe air pollution as a result of decades of rapid economic development and heavy dependence on coal, especially in the greater BTH region. ADB is participating in the government initiatives to address air pollution through the BTH program using various financing instruments, lending modalities, and a number of technical assistance (TA) projects to support sustainable infrastructure and cleaner production in order to reduce air pollution from fossil fuel use. The BTH program is based on air quality management driven by public health concerns. It targets sustainable infrastructure (e.g., cleaner transport, geothermal district heating), industrial cleaner production (energy efficiency improvement, cogeneration, industrial waste heat recovery and utilization), biomass and agricultural waste-to-energy, etc. This session will discuss experience from the BTH program, including diversification of financing tools, waste to energy technologies and approaches, clean heating and cooling, and green transportation.

Potential topics in this session could include:

  • Tailored financial services to support green and sustainable development
  • Rural waste-to-energy: biochar-based compound fertilizer for green agriculture and poverty reduction
  • Switch from coal to clean energy in rural households: benefits for air quality
  • Air pollutant reduction from the iron and steel Industry in Hebei Province
  • Energy efficiency improvement and potential in the cooling sector: a case study from Zhejiang Province

Session 2.5: Supporting Upper Middle Income Countries with Multisectoral Approach

Session 4 showed how an issue unique to Upper Middle Income Countries (UMICs) (i.e. air quality problems), has been addressed with a clean energy deployment initiative. This session will delve into a number of other challenging issues that UMICs face, and which can be addressed by international financiers such as ADB. The list of such challenges includes global public goods such as air and water pollution; the widening gap between urban and rural areas; an ageing population; and commitments to the international community, such as climate change. As an example, ADB’s project pipeline in the People’s Republic of China includes initiatives such as rural vitalization, disaster prevention, and ecologically-friendly growth. These challenges are beyond the traditional sector-based approach, and they will require innovative and multisectoral strategies. The session will draw on the experience and lessons learned by ADB and other development partners and experts using an integrated, multi-sectoral approach, to help UMICs to design more effective development projects and investment strategies.

Overcoming economic, energy and food insecurity, is an increasingly complex challenge, particularly for those living in remote, low-lying small island states (SIDS) and fragile and conflict-affected states (FCAS). Climate change and extreme geophysical and meteorological events—such as increased temperatures; reduced solar radiation; and increased frequency and intensity of rainfall and cyclones, storm surges, and tsunamis—pose additional threats to energy infrastructure sustainability. Climate change impacts will exacerbate existing development challenges such as deterioration of infrastructure, water shortages, rise in communicable diseases, population pressures on limited resources, and fuel and food supply disruptions. Ongoing conflicts present similar challenges and potential devastation. It is important that we explore tailored solutions and regional and cross-sectoral approaches beyond business-as-usual, in order to tackle the real and present danger head-on.

Session 3.1: Planning, Designing, and Building for Climate Resilience

This session will present plans, technologies, approaches and successful case studies for economic and climate resilience including emergency responses and solutions post-conflict and post-disaster. The session will also answer why building for climate resilience is cost-effective in the long term and will showcase successful combined adaptation-mitigation projects in SIDS.

Potential topics in this session could include:

  • Developing country perspectives on planning and financing in FCAS and SIDS context
  • Non-traditional donor financing experience, including emergency financing
  • Case studies for distributed and off-grid clean energy technologies and applications to address climate change impacts
  • Case studies in clean technology responses for post-tsunami, post-typhoon and post conflict recovery situations
  • Case studies in implementing adaptation elements into mitigation projects

Session 3.2: Solar Plus: Alternatives and Enhancements to Solar for Power Generation

Clean alternatives and enhancements to solar in energy, water supply and transport including in aviation and maritime. This session will look at solar for power and other applications, other renewable energy sources available to FCAS and SIDS, innovations in storage, and ancillary services.

Potential topics in this session could include:

  • Next-generation rooftop solar
  • Solar + storage
  • Hybrid energy systems
  • Renewable E-mobility
  • Solar energy for climate-proof water and food security

Session 3.3: Harnessing the oceans

Small island states are big ocean states. This session will discuss “blue economy” opportunities, with a focus on innovations and applications in floating solar technologies and other sustainable ocean energy development. Presentations may also cover cross-sectoral approaches such as floating solar plus aquaculture, greenhouses, and hydrogen and methanol production.

Potential topics in this session could include:

  • Marine floating solar in bays, lagoons, atolls, and open water
  • Offshore wind
  • In-stream tidal energy conversion
  • Integrated energy and regenerative marine aquaculture for energy and food security
  • Power to gas and “power to X”

Session 3.4: Inclusive Financing and Regulation for Resilience

This session will explore options and innovations in financing for climate resilience and adaptation, including leveraging private sector investments. Presentations will highlight efforts to improve financial inclusion for energy access and resilience through financial intermediaries, microfinance institutions, and other modalities such as regional project financing to achieve economies of scale. The session will also include examples of gender-sensitive enabling regulatory frameworks to enable scale up of investments in clean energy and climate change adaptation technologies to improve recovery and productivity, create jobs, and enhance livelihoods for poor FCAS and SIDS families, and especially for women.

Potential topics in this session could include:

  • Microfinance in the 21st century: crowdsourcing, mobile money, and other innovations
  • Blended finance solutions
  • Private sector investment at the bottom of the pyramid
  • Weather-index insurance and other innovative instruments
  • Financing for nature-based defenses

A primary goal of strategies both to adapt to the impacts of climate change and to manage risks from natural and other hazards is to establish resilience. Resilience has been defined as the capacity to resist, to accommodate, to recover from, and to evolve through shock and stress. It encompasses activities that strengthen the physical, social, ecological and financial dimensions of well-being. In climate policy discussions it has been conventional to see energy sector issues as mitigation issues, distinct from adaptation. However, energy systems themselves are widely exposed and often sensitive to the impacts of climate change and natural disasters, so that building the resilience of the energy sector is an emerging priority. Resilience as a guiding principle is also needed to prepare the energy sector for a wide range of changes—both anticipated and unknown—in addition to climate change. These include rapid evolution of technologies, along with social and economic co-determinants. These sessions will explore how energy sector resilience can be enhanced through planning, technology, capacity building and finance. 

Session 4.1: Planning for Resilient Energy Infrastructure and Supply Chains

This session will present methodology, experience and plans for climate-proofing energy infrastructure including existing and future developments. It will be important to protect existing fossil fuel infrastructure such as pipelines, bulk terminals, and port facilities during the energy transition.  

Potential topics in this session could include: 

  • Energy system planning for adaptation and resilience    
  • Energy infrastructure enhancement for Resilience  
  • Risk information for the planning of a resilient energy sector 
  • Policy and legislative requirements for a resilient energy sector 
  • Regional cooperation for a resilient energy infrastructure and supply chain 
  • Floating energy infrastructure  

Session 4.2: High Level Technology and Innovative Design for Power System Resilience

This session will highlight recent and upcoming experience for ADB and its developing member countries (DMCs) advanced technologies for power system resilience.  Cyber security is a particularly important issue to address as energy infrastructure and services become more fully digitized.

Potential topics in this session could include: 

  • Improving resilience planning, operations and maintenance, including remote sensing and artificial intelligence applications 
  • Use of high-level technology in climate-proofing of energy infrastructure—e.g., advanced conductors, dynamic line ratings, 21st century SCADA 
  • Big data: role of advanced data, modeling, and analysis to support sector assessments and planning for electricity and other energy forecasting 
  • Micro-grids and virtual power plants 
  • Cyber security 
  • Digital transformation, including integration of 5G telecommunications, data centers, etc., with electricity and other energy services 

Session 4.3: Managing for Resilience

Climate change and increasing extreme events have posed greater challenges for energy utilities as they operate and maintain the energy infrastructure. Improving management capacity can increase the reliability and resilience of the energy supply in the most economic and efficient manner. In this sense, energy resilience could be achieved by taking proactive measures, introducing emergency plans and working procedure, enhancing coordination and synergy with other public service department etc. This session will focus on operation and maintenance related knowledge/practice sharing between countries, electric utilities and other energy service enterprises. 

Potential topics in this session could include: 

  • Power transmission and distribution systems: 21st century operations and maintenance programs to ensure system reliability 
  • An emergency management approach and coordination mechanism 
    • Remote monitoring, prediction, and early-warning systems 
    • Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR) 
    • Asset distribution and resource deployment 
  • Leveraging ICT technology for accident prevention, minimizing losses, and accelerating recovery 
  • Enhancing community resilience

Session 4.4: Financing Resilience

In the climate change context, financing for mitigation is well-established while financing for adaptation is still on the learning curve. This session will present recent experience with various sources of funds and financing instruments including blended finance, insurance policies, non-traditional donor funds. Case studies of corporate restructuring and reinvention may also be included. 

Potential topics in this session could include: 

  • Legal, regulatory, and financial instruments for “anti-fragility” 
  • Insurance for the 21st century including nature-based defenses for protection of coastal infrastructure 
  • Case studies in adaptation finance  
  • Future-proofing energy companies and corporate evolution 
ADB is welcoming submission of abstracts from individuals or organizations that describe the impact of COVID-19 on the energy and environment, with an emphasis on changes seen or envisioned in energy sector planning and operations.