The Asian Development Bank’s head of energy has urged Asia not to tackle its rocketing electricity demand by adopting the attitude that “coal is cheap – let’s pollute”.

Anthony Jude that while coal is readily available and low cost, it would always be the easy option for those country’s struggling to meet spiraling energy demand.

Delivering a keynote speech on the opening day of ASEAN Power Week – which incorporates POWER-GEN Asia and Renewable Energy World Asia – in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, he said that by 2035 Asia will account for just over half of global energy use.

He asked: “Do we have the resources? No.”

Jude, who is head of the ADB’s Energy Committee, said that $12.2 trillion of energy infrastructure investment would be needed to meet the region’s power needs, but stressed that this must be spent on the right type of plants.

He said that is Asia was “going to go down this trajectory” of coal, it was vital that new power plants must burn coal in the cleanest way possible.

He also called for a drive on energy efficiency and regional trading as a way to alleviate the electricity demands of ASEAN nations. Otherwise, he warned, “Asia is going to have serious problems with security of supply and climate change”.

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