The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is to substantially increase its clean energy investments to $2bn a year from a previous target of $1bn, in a bid to accelerate low carbon growth and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the region.

The new investment target is part of ADB’s Energy Efficiency Initiative (EEI) which was announced by ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda during climate change talks on Asia and the Pacific this week.

Among ADB’s clean energy investments are power transmission enhancement in Azerbaijan, wind power projects in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and India, hydro power development in Bhutan, PRC and Vietnam.

The organisations’s clean energy investments also include energy-efficient lighting for low-income households in the Philippines and a biomass power plant in Thailand.

The new target will take effect from 2013.

ADB also supports the improvement and expansion of energy-efficient mass transit systems in several Asian cities under the Sustainable Transport Initiative.

Making buildings and transport systems more energy efficient is seen as the most cost-effective way of reducing Asia’s fast growing energy demand, improving supply-side efficiency, lowering greenhouse gas emissions and reducing many countries’ reliance on expensive fossil fuel imports.