Unlocking Clean Energy Finance: Show me the Money

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I feel the same way about numbers—they can sometimes tell the complete story, without the need for many words.

According to ADB’s Financing Asia’s Infrastructure Needs Report (2017), the Asia-Pacific region requires nearly $1.7 trillion per annum in climate-adjusted infrastructure investments between 2016 and 2030. Of this, the energy sector is estimated to account for a little more than half–$982 billion per annum. So that’s the demand side. Now let’s take a look at the supply side. According to Bloomberg NEF, investment in clean energy in the Asia-Pacific in 2018 was $166 billion, against $214 billion in 2017. The message is clear—a massive financing gap exists!

As one of the co-chairs of Track 4: Energy and Innovative Finance at ACEF, I am particularly excited about the discussions we will have at ACEF around identifying new niches and areas where catalytic finance can make a difference. This track will draw on the experience of various stakeholders including clean energy project developers, entrepreneurs, governments and investors in Asia. It will focus on case studies, lessons learned, and examples of regional cooperation.

Below is a quick overview of the four sessions during ACEF week.

Tuesday Afternoon (18 June)

Session 4.1: Global and Regional Trends in the Financing of Clean Energy
Tuesday, 18 June | 2.00 pm - 3.30 pm

In this session, we will discuss global and regional trends in financing green and clean energy infrastructure. Various stakeholders including Multilateral Development Banks, institutional investors and project developers will provide their perspective on a range of issues. For instance, standard power purchase agreements, crowd-investment models, economic incentives, etc. Vandana Gombar, Editor - Global Policy, Bloomberg BNEF will moderate this session.

Session 4.2: The Role of Governments in Enabling Clean Energy Financing
Tuesday, 18 June | 4.00 pm - 5.30 pm

Governments play a key role in market development and mobilization of funds. This session’s focus will be on innovative financing instruments adopted by governments and inter-governmental agencies to support clean energy finance. Speakers will provide examples from the UK, Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia. I am honoured to be moderating this session.

Thursday Morning (20 June)

Session 4.3: Financing of Large-Scale Renewable Energy Projects
Thursday, 20 June | 9.00 am - 10.30 am

The discussions in this session will be on financing of utility-scale projects—solar parks, offshore wind energy projects, battery storage projects, etc. We will cover issues such as business models, procurement strategies, liability risks and direct power purchase agreements. My colleague Jackie B. Surtani, Director - Infrastructure Finance East Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific, ADB will moderate this session.

Session 4.4: Crossing the “Valley of Death”: Impact and Venture Capital Investments in Early-stage Clean Energy Firms
Thursday, 20 June | 11.00 am - 12.30 am

While early-stage energy companies need access to both debt and equity, they typically have limited capacity to put together a strong project proposal, structure financial models or even reach out to investors. In this session, we will take a look at some key factors which make business attractive to Impact/VC investors and also listen to story of an entrepreneur who literally rose from the ashes! Andrew Jeffries, Director, Energy Division, South East Asia Regional Department, ADB will moderate this session.

As you can see, we have put together a diverse set of stakeholders and topics across the four sessions. Whether one is a small-scale entrepreneur or a large-scale project developer—we are striving for robust discussions that identify and debate solutions that can unlock financing for clean energy projects, keeping in mind the specific nuances of each technology, project scale and market conditions. I hope you find these deliberations insightful and I look forward to seeing you in Manila!

Pradeep Tharakan
Energy and Innovative Finance Track Co-Chair,
Asia Clean Energy Forum