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PFAN's Impact in Southeast Asia: Driving Clean Energy and Climate Adaptation Initiatives

Nancy Nguyen, Director of Consulting Operations, ACE Partners 

Peter du Pont, Co-Founder and Co-CEO, ACE Partners; Southeast Asia Regional Coordinator, Private Financing Advisory Network (PFAN) 

The Private Financing Advisory Network (PFAN), one of our strategic partners, has been a key player in facilitating the transition to clean energy and climate adaptation projects in Southeast Asia over the past 18 years.  Peter du Pont was involved in co-founding PFAN in Asia as part of a USAID program in 2009, and since 2018, Peter and Nancy have both played a leading role in driving PFAN’s work across the Asia region. 


Recently, PFAN unveiled its Annual Report 2023 - Special Edition, highlighting its significant efforts and achievements in connecting climate and clean energy projects with financing opportunities in middle and low-income countries since its founding in 2006, with a focus on the transition period between 2016 and 2023, when PFAN management transferred to a consortium led by UNIDO, with assistance from the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP). 


Founded in 2006, PFAN aimed to support clean energy and climate entrepreneurs with innovative ideas but lacking the necessary capacity or funding to realize them. Through its international network of local advisors, PFAN has worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs in low and middle-income countries. In total, we have provided advisory coaching for more than 1,400 clean energy and climate resilience projects in 41 countries, of which 270 have been able to raise financing for a total of USD 3.3 billion in financing, creating transformational impact in the regions and countries where they operate. 


Southeast Asia, a region experiencing rapid economic growth and urbanization, has been a focal point for PFAN's activities. From 2016 to 2023, the region witnessed significant investment in energy, with about 40% directed towards cleaner options such as solar PV, wind, and grids. However, private sector participation in renewable energy and climate adaptation projects remains limited, highlighting the need for initiatives like PFAN to bridge the financing gap. 


To address the challenges of climate change and make clean energy more accessible, PFAN has been instrumental in improving regulatory and financing frameworks in the region. By supporting over 100 clean energy and climate projects, PFAN has increasingly focused on companies and projects that build resilience, including those in the circular economy, recycling, alternative proteins, agricultural value chains, cooling, and green buildings sectors.  


The rise of electric mobility in Southeast Asia presents another opportunity for clean energy adoption. PFAN-supported clean transport projects, such as QIQ Vietnam, Selex Motors, and Wiibike Vietnam, have mobilized investments to meet the growing demand for electric vehicles in Thailand, Indonesia, and Singapore. Additionally, investments in solar and wind energy, as well as emerging sectors like green hydrogen and alternative protein sources, signify a shift towards cleaner energy sources in the region.  


From 2016 to 2023, when UNIDO and REEEP became the hosting organization for PFAN, the network helped 26 projects in Southeast Asia raise total funding of USD 280 million.  In 2023, PFAN intensified its efforts in Southeast Asia, with particular attention to the Philippines and Indonesia. In the Philippines, PFAN collaborated with the Cold Chain Innovation Hub under the UNIDO-GEF project, aiming to enhance food safety and security through low-carbon, energy-efficient refrigeration innovation technologies. Meanwhile, in Indonesia, we witnessed notable finance mobilization, with climate adaptation businesses like PT Qomunitas Petani Satu, which successfully secured substantial funds totaling USD 392,068 in debt. 


In 2024, we continued our advisory work, with coaching of projects in Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia.  Indonesia was a significant focus of activity, with support from Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) for a PFAN Indonesia Investor Forum at which 4 PFAN-advised companies pitched a diverse range of business ventures including integrated shrimp ptocessing, seaweed cultivation, sustainable cooling, and community-based waste management.  Collectively, the projects are seeking a total of $8.5 million of debt and equity financing (see summary table). 


PFAN’s activities in Southeast Asia have extended beyond project financing to creating strong partnerships and organizing events. Initiatives such as the PowerACE Start-up Competition, iPitch in partnership with the Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore (SEAS), Gender Workshop in collaboration with the Asian Development Bank, and ESG-SME Pitch Challenge in alliance with the Malaysia’s CIMB, have provided platforms for entrepreneurs to showcase their innovations and access funding. Furthermore, capacity building and training programs have equipped PFAN advisors and network members with the necessary skills to navigate changing market dynamics and investor requirements effectively. 


Looking ahead, as funding for the energy transition continues to increase in Southeast Asia, PFAN remains poised to play a crucial role in project origination, preparation, and investment facilitation services. With its strong networks across seven Southeast Asian countries, active advisors, and investment partners, PFAN is well-positioned to drive the growth of successful businesses in clean energy and climate adaptation, contributing to sustainable development in the region. 


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