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Abt-led USAID Clean Energy Program Exceeds Goals by a Factor of 10

Rockville, Md. - The Clean Power Asia project has exceeded its goal of driving a transition to a low-carbon power sector tenfold, generating more than 10,000 MW of clean energy capacity throughout Southeast Asia–enough to power 8 million households for a year. Led by Abt Global, and funded by USAID, Clean Power Asia (CPA) achieved these results through:

  • The mobilization of more than $7 billion in investment for renewable energy,
  • The prevention of more than 93 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in GHG emissions from being released into the atmosphere over the next 15 years, and
  • The proposal, adoption, and implementation of 16 new policies and regulations in the region.

With Southeast Asia’s energy demand expected to double by 2040, Abt, USAID, and their partners in the region’s public and private sectors teamed to promote a low-emission power system to reduce reliance on carbon-intensive sources such as coal-fired power plants which, in terms of GHG emissions, have far-reaching negative impacts on ecosystems, human health, fisheries, and livelihoods throughout the Lower Mekong River Basin.

Over the past five years, CPA’s goal has been to accelerate the regional transition to a high-performing, low-carbon power sector by improving energy planning, fostering supportive policy frameworks, mobilizing finance and investment, and promoting enhanced regional collaboration. Abt convened diverse stakeholders, partners, and regional organizations in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam, and shared lessons learned and best practices among additional Southeast Asian countries.

“Clean Power Asia is rewarding not just because it was enormously successful, but because it brings together to so much of what Abt specializes in to change the world,” said Project Director Lindsay Foley, the Energy Team Lead from Abt’s International Development division. “We used data, addressed governance, and convened stakeholders to improve the well-being of people by supporting self-reliance in the production of clean energy.”

Supporting the Public Sector

Leveraging unprecedented cost reductions for solar and wind infrastructure, Abt collected data to help generate governmental support for renewable energy. The participating countries received assistance in revising power development plans from CPA and other programs and donors, including the Asian Development Bank, International Energy Agency, and World Bank. CPA also supported improved regional connectivity and power trading among the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states in support of the ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation, which supports UN Sustainable Development Goal 7. The ASEAN plan also sets out ambitious targets and initiatives to enhance energy security and sustainability throughout the region.

Enlisting the Private Sector

Abt helped generate finance and investment from the private sector by developing partnerships and providing direct consulting support to project developers, banks, and financial institutions. For example, partner funding ultimately led to 305 MW of utility-scale wind and solar in Vietnam, and 54 MW of rooftop solar in Thailand and Vietnam. In broader support for investment mobilization, CPA developed and released a variety of tools and guidelines to support project developers, investors, and lenders’ ability to develop, finance, and implement grid-connected renewable energy (RE) projects. Throughout the life of the project, these tools were downloaded more than 3,000 times, highlighting the appetite for RE information targeted at the private sector.

“Renewable energy benefits not only the end users but the rest of world through the reduction of GHG emissions,” said Foley. “That Clean Power Asia was an ambitious project was exciting enough, but that it exceeded its goals means we’re really going to make a difference in people’s lives.”

Learn more about the project or read the final report.

About Abt Global
Abt Global is a global consulting and research firm that uses data and bold thinking to improve the quality of people’s lives. From combatting infectious disease and conducting rigorous program evaluations, to ensuring safe drinking water and promoting access to affordable housing—and more—we partner with clients and communities to tackle their most complex challenges.

Eric Tischler
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