The Ocean Economy


The Ocean Economy

18 June 2019

An Asia Clean Energy Forum (ACEF) 2019 Special Lunchtime Talk

The ocean economy is an organizing principle for organic growth in ADB’s investment operations flowing directly from Strategy 2030 operational priorities, as manifest in the announcement of ADB’s ocean health action plan at the ADB Annual Meeting in May 2019.

Opportunities exist for new commercial investments across the spectrum of ADB operations—sovereign and non-sovereign—in climate mitigation and resilience, energy, food, health, transport, waste management, and water. Island and archipelagic countries generally see their geographic realities as binding constraints on development, but the oceans offer comparative and competitive advantages that are limited only by imagination and ingenuity. The flip side of this opportunity is a challenge for planetary health in an area that ADB has traditionally ignored: the oceans, which provide a large part of the oxygen we breathe (likely more than 50%), 15% of the protein humans consume, and which absorb about 40% of the global CO2 emissions. Humanity cannot survive without the oceans, but they are mentioned only once in the Paris climate accord.

This ACEF Lunch Talk session provided an overview of ADB’s ocean economy initiative announced in May 2019 with brief presentations on scalable solutions for marine aquaculture, coral propagation, and coastal zone waste-to-energy. In the 21st century, ocean energy development needs to happen in a holistic manner: while energy projects can be developed in isolation around power purchase agreements, an alternative approach is a multi-resource development program beginning with high-value seafood production powered by captive renewables, energy recovery from coastal / ocean wastes, and coral propagation for biodiversity conservation and more eco-friendly tourism. This approach emphasizes early revenue generation and modular expansion, with utility-scale ocean energy development via horizontal and vertical integration of the initial revenue-generating activity. Complementary activities could include coastal zone protection, specifically the cultivation of mangroves, reefs, and wetlands which provide additional carbon sequestration and climate change adaptation benefits.

Program and Learning Materials: 
Date Session / Activity Presentation Material Speaker(s)
18 Jun 2019 Introduction Steve Peters, ADB
18 Jun 2019 The World’s Lowest Carbon Protein: Marine Aquaculture Chih-Ting Lo, EELO Solutioms
18 Jun 2019 Growing Reefs Faster Than We Are Killing Them: The Coral Engine Remmente ter Hofstede, Van Oord
18 Jun 2019 Modular Systems for Coastal Waste-to-Energy Adam Aleksander, PtP Energy Services


The views expressed on this website are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) or its Board of Governors or the governments they represent. ADB does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included in this publication and accepts no responsibility for any consequence of their use. By making any designation of or reference to a particular territory or geographic area, or by using the term “country” in this document, ADB does not intend to make any judgments as to the legal or other status of any territory or area.