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ADB Helps Green Cause in China with Launch of Scheme

The Asian Development Bank said on Tuesday it launched an 800-million-yuan (US$117 million) program to support financing of energy efficiency projects in China.

Under the pilot scheme, ADB is extending partial credit guarantees for loans to retrofit existing buildings to save energy and to support the construction of new energy-efficient buildings, Manila-based ADB said in a statement.

China has a goal of making new buildings 50 percent more energy-efficient by 2010, with major cities like Beijing and Shanghai aiming for 65 percent, as the nation copes with greenhouse gas emissions and energy shortage.

Industry experts have estimated that building-related energy consumption accounts for around 30 percent of China's total energy use.

The government effort, which is boosting demand for energy-efficient materials and technologies for heating, cooling, ventilating and lighting, however, faces challenges such as lending hurdles and inexperienced evaluation.

ADB said Chinese commercial banks needing to improve further technical evaluations of energy-efficiency projects to ensure that financing is available. It has chosen Standard Chartered Bank as the first partner financial institution to share the project credit risks in the pilot program.

The ADB expects retrofitting of existing buildings under the program to typically lead to energy savings of 20 to 40 percent.

"Given the country's rapid urbanization, energy efficiency in buildings will have a long-lasting and large cumulative impact," said Robert Wihtol, ADB's country director for China.

The program is part of the ADB's Energy Efficiency Initiative that aims to provide at least US$1 billion a year for funding energy efficiency and clean energy projects.

(Shanghai Daily October 8, 2008)

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