MANILA, Philippines (AP) -- Developing countries in Asia should invest more and faster in renewable energy because it would create jobs and save money in the long run, a Greenpeace International energy campaigner said Tuesday.
"Investing in renewables in Southeast Asia can only further boost the region's already fast growing economy," and create more than 400,000 jobs, said Sven Teske, co-author of the Greenpeace and the European Renewable Energy Council's report "Energy (R)evolution."
Wind, solar and other renewables cost more up front, but offer fuel cost savings so they pay for themselves in the long run, Teske said. Developing countries without fossil fuels can gain independence from imports and eliminate health costs from coal and nuclear energy use, he added.
"It actually makes more economic sense to go in faster and straightforward," Teske told The Associated Press, adding the cost of renewable energy have been falling, including more than 50 percent for solar energy over the last two years.
Many developing countries, however, struggle to raise the capital to institute renewable energy programs.
Samuel Tumiwa, an energy expert from the Manila-based Asian Development Bank, said those projects will end up paying for themselves, but noted that even collecting data to decide where to put a wind farm can be expensive.
Investors for such long-term projects can be hard to find, Tumiwa said, so governments should provide incentives. He added that the bank is also providing financing for such projects.
In global climate talks, developed countries, with more historic responsibility for greenhouse gas emissions, are also being urged to fund the upfront cost for poorer countries until renewable energy costs break even.