Clean, profitable and secure: These are the cornerstones of the U.S. government’s current energy collaborations in the Indo-Pacific region.
Energy is the lifeblood of a modern economy and the U.S. is doing its part to “grow sustainable and secure energy markets throughout the Indo-Pacific,” according to Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo.
For example, the United States Agency for International Development announced in June a project with the Asian Development Bank to mobilize $7 billion of investment for energy projects in the Indo-Pacific.
Similarly, the U.S. government’s Asia EDGE (Enhancing Development and Growth through Energy) has already mobilized more than $1.5 billion in private and public investments for 11 renewable energy projects in Indonesia, including the country’s first wind farm in South Sulawesi. This has allowed them to trade electricity with neighboring countries, such as Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
Asia EDGE: It stands for Enhancing Development and Growth through Energy. Through Asia EDGE, we will invest nearly $50 million this year alone to help Indo-Pacific partners import, produce, move, store, and deploy their energy resources. https://t.co/nFObyvyTKn
— EnergyAtState (@EnergyAtState) July 30, 2018
Since governments alone do not have the capital to meet the region’s vast infrastructure needs, the private sector is an indispensable partner. In Vietnam, Virginia-based AES Corporation recently won a deal to construct a two gigawatt combined cycle gas turbine power plant. It represents an investment of $1.5 billion in shaping Vietnam’s energy future.
Additional energy partnerships include:
- The Japan-U.S. Mekong Power Partnership, to which the United States has already committed an initial $29.5 million, will develop regional grids in the countries located along the Mekong River: Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Thailand and Vietnam.
- The Papua New Guinea Electrification Partnership will bring light and power to 70 percent of the population by 2030.
Such deals with the United States don’t leave countries saddled with unsustainable debt, erode national sovereignty or ruin the environment. “We want transparent transactions, not debt traps,” the secretary said in March.