Lurking beneath the Asian Development Bank (ADB)’s clean energy exterior is a dirty secret: despite their promises to bring clean energy in the Asia-Pacific region, ADB continues to be a supporter of dirty coal projects overseas.
This week, the ADB is hosting the Asia Clean Energy Forum at its headquarters in the Philippines. While the Bank is sure to talk about its investments in clean energy in the Asia-Pacific region, they will, unsurprisingly, fail to mention that while the rest of the multilateral community actively moves away from coal finance, they continue full steam ahead.
Between 1994 and 2012, the ADB was the third largest public international financier of coal-fired power plants, investing $3.9 billion in 21 projects. Over the past six years, the institution invested $1.69 billion in five coal plants, including $900 million in the Jamshoro power plant in Pakistan, $450 million in the controversial 4,000-megawatt Tata Mundra Ultra Mega Coal plant in the Indian state of Gujarat (a project even the IFC has said it won’t help expand), and $120 million in the equally controversial 200-megawatt coal plant in Naga City, Philippines.
To fully understand the current state of the ADB’s support for coal, take the case of the Jamshoro power plant.
Just last year, over the objections of key stakeholders in the ADB, the Bank’s board voted to support the 600-megawatt Jamshoro coal project, despite the conflict with the Bank’s own environmental policy and without a comprehensive analysis into clean energy options to meet Pakistan’s energy needs. The environmental policy alone requires that for projects with high greenhouse gas emissions (like that of a coal-burning power plant), the borrower must evaluate “technically and financially feasible and cost-effective options to reduce or offset project-related greenhouse gas emissions during project design and operation, and pursue appropriate options.”
But that didn’t happen.