Countries in Asia-Pacific will account for more than half of the world’s energy consumption by 2035 and the region needs to improve cross-border interconnections in order to help meet energy demand.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) says that countries in Asia-Pacific are facing huge power requirements as economic growth and rising affluence drive demand growth. In a comprehensive report into the region’s future power demand, it notes that increased levels of cross-border exchange of both power and gas would help to cut costs and improve efficiencies.

"Our projections show the region will consume more than half the world’s energy supply by 2035, with electricity consumption more than doubling as economic growth and rising affluence drive demand," said S. Chander, Special Senior Advisor, Infrastructure and Public-Private Partnerships at ADB. "Countries cannot meet these huge power requirements all on their own."

ADB’s Energy Outlook for Asia and the Pacific indicates that fossil fuels will continue to dominate the energy mix in coming decades, with the demand for coal set to rise by more than 50 per cent up to 2035.

Coal demand will be mainly driven by China, says the report, although it will also rise in other countries in the region as governments look for low-cost fuel options and for ways to diversify supplies. Oil demand will also rise, and the reliance of fossil fuels in Asia-pacific present major pricing, energy security and environmental challenges, says ADB.

Boosting international interconnections for gas and electricity would help to alleviate some of these concerns, and would also help to cement trade ties between countries.

Increased use of energy efficiency measures, advanced power generating technologies and renewable power could almost halve the projected annual rise in energy demand, ADB has found.