The Asia Sustainable and Alternative Energy Program (ASTAE) is a global partnership created in 1992 to scale up the use of sustainable energy in the Asia-Pacific region in order to reduce energy poverty and protect the environment. Achieving this objective rests on promoting ASTAE’s three pillars for sustainable development: renewable energy, energy efficiency, and access to energy. Activities that support countries in adapting to and mitigating the impacts of climate change cut across these three pillars.
ASTAE’s focus dovetails with the objectives of the global Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative, which aims to ensure universal access to modern energy services and double the rate of improvement in energy efficiency and the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix by 2030.
ASTAE programs help design, implement, monitor and evaluate World Bank investment projects and provide technical assistance in 23 East Asia and Pacific (EAP) and South Asia (SAR) countries. ASTAE’s depth of knowledge and flexible funding helps accelerate and intensify early-stage energy sector innovations. This timely assistance—whether to conduct a study, hire a consultant, or test a promising “first of its kind” concept—can inform the direction of a World Bank investment project or help alter its course in the case of rapidly evolving conditions during the implementation phase. To better support World Bank investment projects and enable private sector investment, ASTAE also shares best practices to improve institutional, policy, financial, legal, and regulatory frameworks across the region.
The need for ASTAE’s blend of knowledge and technical support has never been greater. The United Nations estimates that 628 million people in the Asia-Pacific region—close to half of the world’s energy poor—do not have access to electricity and more than 1.8 billion people rely on traditional fuels such as firewood to meet their cooking and heating needs. This chronic energy imbalance has immense consequences in terms of health, gender, and the environment. These include premature deaths—especially among women—from respiratory diseases associated with indoor smoke inhalation, increased local pollution, and high rates of greenhouse gas emissions. And as the population of the region continues to grow, demand is stretching traditional fuels such as wood, charcoal, and straw beyond regeneration capacities.