(EnergyAsia, January 17 2013, Thursday) — With financial support from the the Asian Development Bank (ADB), China will be deploying at least 5,000 new “green” buses in its major cities by 2018 to help reduce the country’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The bank said it has allocated US$275 million for up to five top-tier financial leasing companies in the country to finance leased buses that run on cleaner fuel such as compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) as well as electric and hybrid buses.

The bank expects the new fleet to help China prevent the annual output of 1.31 million tons of greenhouse gases from 2019, benefiting millions of low-income commuters and improving the country’s notoriously well-known unhealthy air quality.

“This programme will help roll out more green buses onto the streets by easing the funding bottleneck of financial leasing companies and bus operators,” said Philip Erquiaga, Director General of ADB’s Private Sector Operations Department. The programme will provide critical long-term finance and may help leverage cofinancing to promote the development of clean bus leasing business in China.

According to the ADB, several leasing companies have shown strong interest in participating in what is the bank’s first non-sovereign loan to support sustainable transport in China. The programme is in line with the US$175 billion commitment of multilateral development banks made during the Rio+20 Summit for transport in developing countries from 2012 to 2022.