Reliable access to energy lies at the heart of economic development and is crucial to human well-being. In Asia, there are an estimated 387 million people without access to electricity and roughly 660 million people who rely on traditional biomass for cooking.

In order to improve the region's ability to provide energy for its citizens, President Obama, in concert with the President of the Republic of Indonesia Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (the 2013 Chair of APEC) and His Majesty the Sultan dan Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei (the 2013 Chair of ASEAN), announced the formation of the “U.S.-Asia-Pacific Comprehensive Partnership for a Sustainable Energy Future.” The Partnership will build upon efforts underway in APEC and ASEAN to bring concrete, impactful progress in addressing energy poverty and energy access issues in the region.

Specifically, the Partnership is driving investment and facilitating progress through four key regional priorities:

  • Renewables and Cleaner Energy - encouraging the use of wind, solar, geothermal
  • Power Markets and Interconnectivity – developing smart grids, cross-border connectivity
  • The Emerging Role of Natural Gas - promoting greater use of this cleaner fuel
  • Sustainable Development – addressing rural electrification issues and energy efficiency

The Partnership is working closely with the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank to ensure a coordinated approach and to maximize investment opportunities. The Partnership is also engaging with the private sector as well as countries in the region to determine specific projects within these four priority areas. With an estimated $9 trillion needed in investment in electricity alone through 2035 to meet growing demand in the region, there is enormous potential for the U.S. private sector to play an important role in the region’s energy future.

To further these efforts, under USACEP, the United States has conducted workshops and training on clean energy financing, rural electrification using distributed renewable energy, energy regulation, renewable integration, building energy efficiency, and electrical interconnection. In July 2014, OPIC and USTDA opened a program office in Bangkok to facilitate the financing of clean energy projects in the region. OPIC has committed to make available up to $1 billion in financing and insurance for sustainable energy projects in support of the USACEP initiative. USTDA has continued its increased programming and investment focus in sustainable energy sector activities in Southeast Asia, including support for wind power development, power grid efficiencies, and liquefied natural gas terminal development. Most recently, USTDA provided grant funding to a private sector wind developer in Vietnam to support the expansion of a wind farm. The U.S. Department of State is leading U.S. participation in the Partnership with the support of other U.S. agencies.