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USAID Clean Power Asia: Increasing Clean Energy in the Lower Mekong Countries

Countries in the Lower Mekong region – Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand, and Vietnam – have grown an average of 6 percent per year since 2011. This impressive growth has improved livelihoods, but rising demand for energy and continued dependence on fossil fuels threaten to further entrench the region on the path to dangerous and unsustainable greenhouse gas emissions.

USAID Clean Power Asia, a five-year effort begun in 2016, works with Lower Mekong countries and other Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states to encourage power sector investments in environmentally-friendly, clean energy sources. The initiative specifically focuses on bringing greater quantities of renewable energy into the region’s electricity grids. Funded by USAID, Abt Associates is implementing this project.

The Abt team has successfully pioneered and scaled-up innovative renewable energy technology solutions for more than 20 years in the region, and managed multi-country USAID efforts leading to measurable and sustainable impacts. Our approach – enabled by the public sector but led by the private sector – integrates flexible mutually reinforcing activities that strengthen power systems within and across borders.

The project has three main efforts:

Promoting Low-Emission Power Systems: USAID Clean Power Asia works with project developers, the investment community, government and other donor agencies to attract public- and private-sector investment for grid-connected renewable energy development.

Power Sector Planning: The project is gathering robust datasets to support the establishment and updating of national renewable energy targets and the integration of those targets into power development plans and integrated resource plans for the power sector.

Mobilizing Public and Private Sector Investment: The Lower Mekong region is using less than 1 percent of its renewable energy potential. At the same time, barriers exist for banks and financial institutions to effectively engage and invest in renewable energy. USAID Clean Power Asia is reducing these barriers by, for example, promoting standardized documentation and evaluation practices and making approval processes for financing renewable energy projects more transparent and efficient.

Visit the USAID Clean Power Asia web site.

Read about related work by Abt:

Climate Economic Analysis for Development, Investment, and Resilience (CEADIR)