Rapid urbanisation in developing Asia, Latin America and Africa is driving exponential growth in the demand for energy.
Experts said this will also add to the rising levels of carbon emissions and worsen climate change.
If nothing is done to address this, climate change is set to cost economies up to 3 per cent of GDP by 2030.
The green technologies industry has received billions of dollars in investments this year and is set to grow further.
From solar panels to smartphone applications that can monitor energy consumption and efficiency, companies are making use of more ecological solutions and products.
Dr Roland Busch, Siemens CEO of infrastructure & cities sector, said: “Today we are investing close to 4 billion euros per year into research and development. One billion alone goes into green technologies. We have 28,600 researchers and developers working in that area and 3,300 - this is 12 per cent - alone in Asia.”
However concerns over carbon emissions have come back into the spotlight this year, after the World Bank also emphasised on projects that focus on sustainability in Asia.
World Bank’s vice president (East Asia and Pacific Region), Pamela Cox, said: “One of the key areas (is that) about 70 per cent of our financing goes to helping China create low-carbon cities. So we’re investing in urban infrastructure, urban systems. We just issued a report on low carbon growth in China, which can be a roadmap for many of the cities.”
Meeting the growing energy needs of businesses and homes without increasing CO2 emissions is a key challenge faced by cities today.
Cities account for 75 per cent of global energy demand, generating 80 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions.
In Asia, Panasonic has set up a new research centre in Singapore, investing S$10.2 million over the next two years to develop energy-saving solutions that aim to be commercially viable by 2013.
Mr Yasuyuki Shintani, Panasonic Corporation’s GM of Solutions Development Group, said: “If we look at Asian countries, the market for energy solutions is growing very rapidly. For example, we found that in the Asia Pacific region, the market is growing more than 200 per cent from 2011 to 2012.
“This is because of the rising population and rapid urbanisation. So this kind of phenomenon will continue and this is why we are focused on energy solutions.”
Panasonic also aims to target 80 per cent of its total sales in Asia to come from eco-friendly products by March 2013.
The company has also committed to reduce its own carbon emissions in the Asia Pacific by 600,000 tonnes next year.
Thanks for reading to the end of this story!
We would be grateful if you would consider joining as a member of The EB Circle. This helps to keep our stories and resources free for all, and it also supports independent journalism dedicated to sustainable development. For a small donation of S$60 a year, your help would make such a big difference.