High-Level Investor Forum on The New Ocean Energy Economy
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved the Knowledge and Support Technical Assistance (TA) 6619:Marine Aquaculture, Reefs, Renewable Energy, and Ecotourism for Ecosystem Services (MARES) in 2019.
The TA will facilitate future investment in sustainable ocean economy development through two main activities:
- assessment of marine resource commercialization prospects (including energy, seafood, and tourism) and identification of potential investment projects in selected developing member countries (DMCs); and
- stakeholder engagement and knowledge management on mechanisms to facilitate large-scale investments and to accelerate financing of selected projects.
ADB, in partnership with Indonesia Malaysia-Thailand-Growth Triangle (IMT-GT) Subregional Program, will be hosting a High-Level Investor Forum (HLIF) on The New Ocean Energy Economy on 7 February 2023 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The proposed HILF is a key milestone of the TA.
Over 120 participants will convene at the Forum to discuss project opportunities, constraints, and implementation strategies. With the theme “Introducing the New Ocean Energy Economy,” the Forum's main purpose is to support and promote substantial cooperation for innovative but scalable integrated ocean energy solutions and regenerative business activities in coastal states and communities.
The key focus of the Forum will be on policies, measures, and best practices for the Blue Economy and marine renewable energy, marine renewable energy technologies, related regenerative activities, market solutions, regional cooperation and integration, and future marine spatial planning.
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The forum will also see the pitching and selection of a winning project from the shortlisted projects below.
The Blue-Cooking model looks to utilize electricity generated from floating solar energy panels integrated into aquaculture farms in order to enable the spread of clean cooking (using electric cookstoves rather than solid fuels). Initially focusing on three communities in Bangladesh, the project will work with aquaculture farmers to understand the barriers and benefits of floating solar system integration, including mechanisms to improve income and farming yield. The project will also work with women to understand socio-economic barriers and benefits to the adoption of clean cooking, in addition to transitioning to new technologies and wider health improvements.
The Decom2Green project aspires to catalyze the regenerative decommissioning of offshore platforms within Asia. It aims to engage with oil and gas operators in Thailand to explore the feasibility of repurposing decommissioned offshore platforms to allow them to support aquaculture and marine renewable energy operations. This innovative approach promises benefits both to the energy companies (by reducing the costs of decommissioning and strengthening company Environmental, Social, and Governance credentials) and coastal and islands states (by enabling new, regenerative Blue Economy industries that strengthen food and energy security and providing jobs).
Deep Water Intake Infrastructure powered by MW-scale OTEC
An industrial academic consortium from Japan is looking to harness the potential of Deep Open Water (DOW) and Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) to enable communities to create their own local power, farm, and fish more reliably, cool buildings with less electricity, and provide environmentally friendly desalination for water security. The technological approach – which has been deployed successfully in other parts of the world – seeks to set up demonstrations for the first time in Palau, and will use the cold, cleanliness, and nutrient salts from deep water to provide a range of regenerative benefits to local communities.
Ongedaol Nature Resort Palau
Ongedaol Nature Resort Palau seeks to create an innovative new model for sustainable, organic ecotourism, empowered by modern technology, that is completely off-grid and formed in partnership with local landowners. 23 eco-retreat suites amid a natural reserve will feature sustainable organic farming (agriculture and aquaculture) where visitors can experience living amid the jungles of Palau, taste locally-grown food, hike ancient trails, and enjoy nature on both lands and in the water. From ownership structure to design, the project will support local livelihoods, utilize renewable energy systems and create a unique eco-friendly experience inspired by Palauan traditions.
Pacific Ocean Explorers (POE)
The Pacific Ocean Explorers project would combine marine renewable energy and aquaculture to strengthen food and energy security in Palau. By establishing the natural spawning cycles of certain species of significance, eggs can be harvested to produce juveniles for food grow out, restocking for conservation, and restocking for food security. All of this would be achieved while using 80-100% renewable energy provided by Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC), as well as providing staff and other resources to support coral propagation for reef resilience and to combat the effects of human-induced impact.
Republic of the Marshall Islands Climate Proof Fuel Storage
This project aims to use converted maritime tankers for floating fuel storage which will replace a land-based system that is vulnerable to sea level rise and more severe meteorological events exacerbated by climate change. Used tankers will be retrofitted by the Marshalls Energy Company (MEC) in accordance with industry best practices. They may also be embellished by renewable energy (e.g., solar, wind, wave, and/or tidal energy conversion systems) to support the charging of electric/hybrid boats and to produce hydrogen, ammonia, and other high-value chemicals which can be sold into existing markets.
Savusavu Blue Town Model
The Savusavu Blue Town Model looks to introduce a comprehensive framework to create thriving communities that address climate change and ocean pollution while building sustainable livelihoods within a picturesque harbor town in Fiji. Savusavu provides a safe anchorage for visiting yachts and is the focus of tourism activities on Fiji's second largest island of Vanua Levu. By adopting a sustainable and community-driven approach to planning, the Savusavu Blue Town Model aims to develop a masterplan that will strengthen the local economy at the same time as enhancing marine conservation, supporting environmental education, and transitioning to marine renewable energy.
The Subic Blue project aspires to introduce the first aquarium fish farm and coral nursery in the Philippines, producing large quantities of tropical fish for sale and for placement back onto protected reefs. In addition to bringing a unique regenerative business to the education-focused Subic Bay Marine Exploratorium, Inc. (SBMEI) on the west coast of the island of Luzon, the new operations would also create additional jobs and provide solar energy for SBMEI and the local grid. Planned activities would also rehabilitate local coral reefs and provide real-life marine education to thousands of tourists and students from the Philippines and overseas.
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