Asia is the world’s largest single landmass, its second-largest economy, and is home to five of the ten largest countries by population. In China, Asia has the world’s largest electrical power system, and its largest national source of CO2 emissions. In India, distributed energy holds great promise and new business models are under development to meet the needs of the world’s largest single population without reliable access to electricity. From Tajikistan in the heart of central Asia, to the outlying islands of Indonesia, Asian countries have a remarkable breadth and depth of clean energy opportunities.
As the only two countries on earth with populations over 1 billion, China and India require an extended frame for comparison to the rest of the world and thus Climatescope included examinations of 15 provinces and 10 states within each, respectively.
With its diverse terrain ranging from the Himalayas to high desert to tropical forests, Asia has outstanding national resource potential for clean energy. Naturally, large, windy, sunny countries such as China, India, and Pakistan have excellent wind and solar potential, but smaller nations such as Nepal and Tajikistan offer ample opportunities for small hydro development. Tropical and subtropical countries such as Indonesia, Vietnam, and Myanmar have major biomass resources.
Within the context of Climatescope, Asia is a study in contrasts. Nearly every country in the region studied has made efforts to establish clean energy policies, though with significantly varying degrees of success in implementation. China is the world’s largest wind and solar market, as measured in terms of megawatts installed, but has proportionally little clean energy online due to its great size. Capital, likewise, is readily available in China but is much scarcer, to nearly nonexistent, elsewhere.
In general, Asian countries have strong participation across renewables value chains, and not just because some countries are large markets. Asia’s strong position in global manufacturing extends to clean energy.
The only area in which Asian countries generally performed lower on Climatescope was on greenhouse gas management activities: as most countries are not Kyoto signatories, they have voluntary markets at best, though China and India have a long history of CDM projects.
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