2nd Round of Grant Applications for EE Innovation in Southeast Asia (Deadline: 31 January 2022)
Peter du Pont
ETP has recently provided a first round of grants through this EE Innovation Window and recently announced a second round for grant applications, with a deadline of 31 January 2022.
I often find in conversations about the Energy Transition in Southeast Asia that the emphasis is on getting to 100% renewable energy. The obvious problem with this statement is that it does not make sense—from either a technological or an economic point of view. The fact is that all credible studies and plans for achieving “Net Zero” greenhouse gas emissions assume that a substantial share of the emissions reductions will need to come from improvements in energy efficiency.
It is wonderful that the costs of solar and wind are rapidly coming down and that we are seeing milestones like 1.35 US cents/kWh in UAE and even 3.8 US cents/kWh in the 60 MW solar park that the Cambodian government has developed with technical and financial support from the Asian Development Bank.
However, those of us who have been working in the energy efficiency (EE) trenches for decades know that demand side management (DSM) programs have been delivering energy savings for the past three decades and continue to do so. One challenge in Asia is that DSM has not been institutionalized through regulations like it has in the United States and other countries. And without utilities driving energy-efficiency efforts, we find in Southeast Asia that the availability of financing for EE projects remains suboptimal for a number of reasons, including (a) low awareness and familiarity with EE technologies and systems; (b) lack of technical capacity and project development skills; (c) the perception of high risk due to the small scale and relative complexity of EE projects; (d) lack of regulations and incentives supporting EE, and (f) lack of commercially attractive financing available from local financial institutions.
To accelerate and realize global goals of decarbonization and transition to clean energy, equal focus and support must be given to EE.
ACE Partners provided support in the design of Southeast Asia Energy Transition Partnership (ETP)’s Energy Efficiency Innovation Window, which provides early grant financing for innovative approaches to address the systemic problem of under-investment into energy efficiency in Southeast Asia, particularly in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam.
The EE Innovation Window is seeking proposals that address one of more of the following three categories:
Project Development Support. EE Innovation Window will provide grants for the development of EE projects and supporting tools and approaches that enhance capacity building and best-practice approaches or developing literacy in relation to development of viable business cases for EE projects.
Access to EE Finance. Initiatives and approaches that can expand access to financing or energy efficiency will be highly considered. This can be achieved through mechanisms such as innovation products, better measurement and verification of the energy savings revenue stream, project intermediaries and Super-ESCO-style approaches, etc.
Facilitation of Public and Policy Implementation. This category is specifically for the development of EE projects and initiatives that target the public sector. The public sector can potentially enable investments for these projects through policies and regulations.
The eligible interventions and technologies interventions are those that cover energy efficiency or increased productivity in the commercial, industrial or residential sectors, or efficiency-focused applications in transportation including:
smart metering, monitoring and energy use information and data;
smart grid and control technologies;
residential and commercial building construction and retrofitting – insulation and building envelope measures, lighting, heating and cooling (including space cooling and refrigeration), appliances, control systems, building integrated PV, hot water production;
industrial energy performance – electric motors, drives, pumps, air compressors, boilers and thermal equipment, economizers;
training and/or certification programs for practitioners in component parts of project development, such as energy auditing, understanding and delivering M&V for energy savings, EE project finance, and other capacity building required by the project owner;
and innovative approaches and support to the development of effective and innovative energy efficiency policies, that have potential to inform and influence public policy towards energy efficiency investment.
The EE Innovation Window provides grant funding, and also refers projects to its Partners—namely The Southeast Asia Clean Energy Facility (SEACEFF), which invests in innovative, early-stage, high-impact, bankable clean energy projects in Southeast Asia; and the Private Finance Advisory Network (PFAN), which offers business coaching and investment facilitation.
Initiatives like this, will inspire, accelerate and scale-up EE technological innovations in energy-consuming products and services. Improvement in EE technologies can potentially avoid energy losses in transmission and distribution systems. Improved infrastructure can integrate nature-based solutions, possibly leading to formulation and implementation of suitable technical efficiency standards.
For more information about the Southeast Asia Energy Transition Partnership, please visit: https://www.energytransitionpartnership.org/
To know more about the EE Innovation Window, visit: https://www.ungm.org/Public/Notice/161091
 Peter du Pont is a Managing Partner at the firm.