EEP Mekong 2nd Regional Forum, 31 Jan. - 1 Feb. 2012, Bangkok
With the attendance of over 200 participants from more than twenty countries, the EEP Mekong 2nd Annual Regional Forum was held on 31 January - 1 February 2012 at Siam Kempinski Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand. Acknowledging the challenges in financing clean energy projects, the organisers chose “Barriers to Clean Energy Project Financing” as the theme of the forum.
A number of dignitaries participated in the forum including H.E. Ambassador Sirpa Mäenpää, Finland’s ambassador to Thailand who gave the welcome address and H. E. Dr. Norkun Sithiphong, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Energy Thailand who delivered the keynote address.
In her message, H. E. Ambassador Sirpa Mäenpää mentioned that the government of Finland has recognized the significant contribution of renewable energy in sustainable economic development and climate change mitigation. For this reason, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland (MFA) launched the Energy and Environment Partnership programme (EEP) initially in Central America (EEP Central America ) in 2002 and later in the Mekong Region (EEP Mekong) and Southern and Eastern Africa (EEP S and E Africa). Currently, there are five EEP programmes in three continents of which EEP Indonesia and EEP Andean Region were established in 2011.
Ambassador Sirpa Mäenpää announced to the forum participants the extension of EEP Mekong up to 2016. In her announcement, Ambassador Mäenpää, mentioned that MFA has budgeted Euro 9.1 million which has not only secured a second phase of the programme but also increased its funding. For the first phase of EEP Mekong (2009-2012) MFA provided Euro 4.9 million while the Nordic Development Fund (NDF) contributed Euro 3.2 million.
H.E. Dr. Norkun Sitthiphong shared the impressive experience of Thailand in supporting and implementing Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Projects across the country. Dr. Norkun insisted that the use of renewable energy as well as energy conservation is still high on the agenda of the current government.
In line with the theme of the forum, speakers discussed various issues of clean energy financing. Dr. Peter Du Pont, Vice President, Clean Energy, Nexant provided an overview of clean energy financing in the Mekong Region while Ms.Duangrutai Chotsurakalya, Vice President, Kasikonbank, discussed bankable clean energy projects as well as various project risks and their mitigating measures. Ms. Susanne Kern, Vice President, Asset Management of Deutsche Bank, discussed the challenges and opportunities in investing in renewable energy from an international perspective.
Technology providers which are key players in clean energy projects were represented by Mr. Marc Lees, Business Development Manager, Schneider Electric, who spoke on “Catalyzing clean energy and the role of technology in building a sustainable future”.
Micro-finance and co-funding to support community development was presented by Dr. Wolfgang Frank, Senior Adviser of the Population and Community Development Association.
Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) as a tool for project financing was discussed in detail by various speakers, including Mr. Philippe Coste, Special Advisor, Carbonium, Mr. Keshav Das, Senior Carbon Finance, SNV, Mr. Edward Allen, Technical Advisor, Lao Institute of Renewable Energy, Mr. Gustaf Godenhielm, Managing Director, Thailand Biogas Energy Company and Mr. Alan Dale Gonzales, Executive Director, Full Advantage Co. Ltd.
Representatives from multilateral financial institutions also spoke on their respective organization’s financing facilities, policies, and experiences. These included Mr. Helge Semb and Mr. Hannu Eerola, Managing Director and Country Program Manager from NDF, respectively; Ms. Marion Verles, Executive Director, Nexus-Carbon Development, Dr. Romel Carlos, Project Manager, Sustainable Energy Finance, International Finance Corporation (IFC), Dr. Romeo Pacudan, Project Team Leader of Asian Development Bank (ADB), and Mr. Jari Hietala, Vice President, Head of Region-Asia, Finnpro
A number of project developers from Vietnam and Thailand had a chance to discuss specific projects with financiers including DEG German Investment and Development Company, Bank of Ayudhaya Public Co. Ltd., Deutsche Bank AG, NDF, IFC and ADB during the one-on-one session in the afternoon of the first day of the forum.
Round-table discussions on micro-financing, bioenergy and clean energy partnership capped the second day session.