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Japan launches Southeast Asia energy fund to promote clean energy in coal-friendly markets

June 24, 2021

Radio Free Asia: 

Japan has launched a $10 billion fund to promote clean energy in Southeast Asia, amid growing signs that the world’s third-largest economy is shifting away from the investments in coal-fired power generation still heavily promoted by its key strategic rival for regional influence – China.

The Asia Energy Transition Initiative (AETI), launched by Japan’s Ministry of Environment, Trade and Industry in late May, aims to enable more innovation and investments in energy efficiency, renewables, and alternatives to coal-fired power plants.      

“There has been a seismic shift in Japanese energy policy,” said Tim Buckley, an Australia-based energy finance analyst at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. “ASEAN is a perfect market to benefit,” he said, referring to the 10-country Association of Southeast Asian Nations. “It has one of the highest economic and energy demand growth outlooks in the world.”

Japan and China, the world’s second-largest economy, are the two largest energy investors in Southeast Asia, which has become heavily reliant on coal. According to the energy economics institute, China, Japan, and South Korea financing and capital were responsible for 90 percent of all financing for coal plants committed in Southeast Asia, investing $77.2 billion since 2010, according to a Greenpeace Japan report.

[Nithin Coca]

More: Japan shifts toward clean energy in Southeast Asia as China stokes up coal

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