Asia warms to green cash initiatives

Asian governments are warming to the idea of offering incentives for green investment, Reuters reported, and they could help attract billions of dollars in funding for solar and wind power industries struggling in tight credit conditions. Aided by such initiatives, analysts say, Asia could become the biggest market for renewable projects by 2012.


“Major Asia-Pacific markets from Australia to China and Japan to South Korea are at various stages of refining sweeteners to encourage renewable energy projects,” according to the news agency’s analysis. “Some are raising renewable energy targets to boost large-scale green projects.”

While the credit crunch has discouraged private investment in some industries and markets, the agency found, Asia’s renewable and environmental sectors should benefit from stimulus packages as governments spend their way out of the financial crisis. HSBC estimates that 20%, or US$272 billion, of Asian stimulus funds will be spent on green-related investments. The figure is more than double the amount earmarked for green projects in the Americas and five times bigger than Europe’s.  


As part of the biggest stimulus package to date, China also has earmarked the most to green-related projects. HSBC estimates that green-related investments will account for 34%, or US$200 billion, of China’s total stimulus package of US$586 billion. That will be in addition to solar subsidies announced last month, aimed at helping local manufacturers who face declining international demand.  


While companies have been encouraged, they and industry analysts say hurdles remain. Greater clarity is needed in regulations for government incentives, and tight credit and strained budgets could limit the flow of funds to some projects.  


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