(EnergyAsia, June 27 2011, Monday) — With an energy crisis looming, Asian nations must “take radical steps” to increase energy efficiency and invest in renewable energy, said Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Haruhiko Kuroda.

The Asia Pacific’s strong economic growth and its increasing population are generating the world’s fastest growing demand for energy that could double by 2030.

Mr Kuroda said the lack of energy security may reverse the region’s hard-won gains in poverty reduction while continued reliance on fossil fuels will also increase the threat of climate change, thus affecting millions of Asia’s poor and vulnerable through increased natural disasters and shortages in food and water.

“Asians have more to lose from climate change than any other people. The climate fight will be won or lost by decisions made in this region,” said Mr. Kuroda in an introduction to the Sixth Asia Clean Energy Forum (ACEF) in Manila last week.

“An important key to lowering energy intensity is the elimination of fossil fuel subsidies and transition to renewable energy. Asia must also take radical steps to increase energy efficiency.”

To meet the rising demand for energy and improve the lives of 800 million people in Asia with no access to electricity, a significant push is needed to fast track new business models and policies for clean energy development.

With over 500 participants from 60 countries in attendance, the ACEF is being co-organised by the United States Agency for International Development, the World Resources Institute, and ADB to promote dialogue on scaling up clean energy efforts in the region.

Having invested US$1.76 billion in clean energy last year, ADB said it is on target to meet its goal of reaching US$2 billion annually by 2013. The bank’s Asia Solar Energy Initiative was launched in 2010 to help develop 3,000 megawatts of new solar energy by 2013. It recently announced a plan to inject US$60 million into three venture capital funds to provide early stage financing support for new climate technology products. This initiative is expected to leverage over US$400 million in private sector investment.

Amory Lovins, co-founder, chairman and chief scientist for Rocky Mountain Institute (by video), and Mohamed El-Ashry, senior fellow, UN Foundation and Chairman of the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN 21), were among the event’s guest speakers.