In Asia, green energy has five focus areas. Renewable energy tops the list. The European Photovoltaic Industry Association estimates that electricity is now the third most important renewable energy in terms of globally installed capacity. Europe leads the way in this respect, accounting for more than 51 gigawatts of global energy. Asia’s capacity is rising, however, with a capacity of 7.7 gigawatts.

The second focus area is carbon-reduction technology, which works to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. In the clean development mechanism (CDM) market, China and India have the most global CDM projects. These are, broadly speaking, projects that qualify as ‘emissions-reducing’. In south-east Asia, Malaysia has the most CDM projects. As the second largest palm oil producer in the world, Malaysia’s CDM potential lies in biomass and biogas, as well as municipal solid waste.

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Energy efficiency is the third focus area. Legislative enforcement in Asia is weak, even though the impacts of climate change mostly will be felt there. Nonetheless, India has multi-state demand-side management programmes to control peaks in energy demand and the Philippines is working to develop a framework for best practice and regulation.

Clean energy is a fourth focus area. China is considering wind energy development, while the Philippines is trying to reduce barriers to the introduction of efficient vehicle technologies.

Green buildings is the fifth focus area, as buildings account for nearly one-third of energy use. With more than half the world’s construction taking place in China and India alone, Asia faces a combination of higher energy prices, growing demand for electricity and deepening environmental concerns. Nevertheless, it is notable that governments are building power plants to keep up with the surging demand from new buildings and thus it appears that Asia’s green energy movement shows promise.

Lawrence Yeo is CEO and principal consultant of AsiaBIZ Strategy, a Singapore-based management consulting firm providing Asia market research, market entry and expansion strategy and export/FDI promotion services. Website: www.asiabizstrategy.com.