Boosting energy security in the Indo-Pacific

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.

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:

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.