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ASTAE Performance Assessment

Fiscal 2007–10 Extended Business Plan


ASTAE Activities and Disbursements in Extended Business Plan
Period 2007-10

During the last four fiscal years, ASTAE disbursements totaled US$7,365,439 from two trust funds provided by the government of the Netherlands and the government of Sweden. This is equivalent to 99 percent of the US$7.4 million budget that was initially requested for the fiscal 2007–09 original business plan period and was covered by the pledge by the government of the Netherlands in March 2006.


In addition, the government of Sweden pledged SKr15 million in May 2007, which became available in 2008 and allowed extension of the business plan’s reach for an additional year into fiscal 2010. 


Overview of Disbursements

Figure 1As shown in figure 1, annual disbursements grew from US$1.2 million in fiscal 2007 to the current annual rate of over US$2 million, which exceeds the average disbursement in the last decade.


By the end of fiscal 2010, total donor resources disbursed by ASTAE had reached 99 percent of the US$7.4 million budget allocated under the 2007–09 original business plan period.


When combining these disbursements with the commitments made at the end of fiscal 2010, as shown in figure 1, the total figure of US$8.5 million represented 92 percent of the combined budget available from both donors. This high level of commitments and disbursements led to the decision to extend the two trust funds into fiscal 2011 to ensure maximum disbursements before starting into a new business plan.


The details of disbursements by country and fiscal year in table 1 show that total disbursements grew steadily during the first three years and leveled in fiscal 2010.

Table 1


Figure 2 shows that China, Vietnam, and Mongolia received regular and significant ASTAE financial support (11, 10, and 9 percent of total expenditure, respectively). Indonesia also saw recent growth in disbursements that put it on par with other countries at 8 percent of total disbursements. Only the Philippines and South Asia lagged behind in disbursements.

Figure 2


The effort to reach out to smaller Pacific Islands countries increased over the business plan period; these countries are now a major part of the ASTAE portfolio, with 17 percent of the last four years’ disbursements. Timor-Leste and Solomon Islands represent the major portion of disbursements (6 and 5 percent, respectively). There has been no activity in Papua New Guinea.


The growth in the share of regional and knowledge-sharing activities, and in reporting activities (10 and 7 percent, respectively), reflect ASTAE’s new commitment to share good practices within the region and develop information that is of value beyond a single country by supporting regional activities and improving the means of outreach and external communication.


Abiding by the agreement with ASTAE donors, ASTAE’s administrative costs remained below 20 percent, in fact decreasing to 16 percent of total disbursements.


Activity Repartition by Countries and Pillars

ASTAE funded 63 activities during the last four years. Many of these covered several pillars, which explains why the total of activities in figure 3 is more than 63. 


Figure 3ASTAE disbursements by pillar, shown in figure 3, demonstrate a strong position in the renewable energy sector, which is the primary focus of nearly half of the activities supported, with 28 of 63 activities receiving more than half of the funding. Access activities were the core focus of 16 activities, and were part of another 12 as a secondary theme; this explains the lower funding amount shown. Finally, energy- efficiency related activities were core in 19 activities and secondary in an additional 6. It should be noted that cross-sector activities, such as with the transport sector, are often linked to energy efficiency. 


Overall, while the primary focus of disbursements is on renewable energies, ASTAE task teams managed to keep a good balance among the three pillars in the global portfolio in terms of number of activities, when taking into consideration both primary and secondary themes of activities.


Figures 4-6 provide an overview of disbursements for each pillar, sorted by country, with the full disbursed amount allocated to the pillar of primary focus. These figures reveal the attention paid by ASTAE to channel funding in supporting the pillar that requires the most support for each country.


Figure 4Figure 4 shows a well-spread distribution of renewable energy funding among countries in the East Asia and Pacific Region. This indicates that while interest in renewable energy is led by the efforts of large countries with robust domestic programs to reduce their carbon footprint, it is no longer limited to these countries. In fact, ASTAE’s work in the Pacific Islands has dramatically increased, and now represents about a quarter of disbursements in renewable energy. This is driven by energy insecurity caused by fluctuations in international fuel prices and by the renewed interest in exploiting indigenous sources of renewable energy. Some significant regional activities were also undertaken—collectively representing 19 percent of disbursements—for the production of flagship reports as well as practitioners’ tools.


Figures 5 and 6 show that the disbursements relative to the energy efficiency and access to modern energy services pillars are more narrowly focused on a smaller set of countries.


Figure 5Figure 6


In energy efficiency, China and Mongolia represent more than 60 percent of total disbursements. This is the result of ASTAE’s continued involvement in helping China’s industries realize their energy savings potential, and follows a series of activities devoted to addressing heating-related issues in Mongolia. Promising activities have also begun and in South Asia, as has ground-breaking regional work related to energy in the transport sector. While the disbursements are the lowest in Vietnam, the activity that began has a very high impact potential.


In access to electricity, Timor-Leste, Vietnam, and Mongolia each represent over one-fifth of disbursements, and illustrate the variety of the realities and challenges that countries encounter in their efforts to increase access. In Vietnam, ASTAE provided assistance to the government’s work to improve the quality of service and to deliver access to electricity to the final 10 percent of population, primarily in remote rural areas. In contrast, access is much lower in Timor-Leste, where only 21 percent of the population have electricity; therefore, the support provided is of a different nature, focusing on basic new connections, increasing customer payments, and increasing the number of hours electricity is available daily. Finally, Mongolia is in a different position, with an aging network that covers urban and peri-urban populations quite well, but is in disrepair, and with a very dispersed rural population that can be reached only through individual systems.


Efforts to deliver improved access to energy are not limited to electricity. ASTAE plays a leadership role within the World Bank East Asia energy unit in promoting attention to energy used for heating, for both space heating and cooking. The work in Timor-Leste supported the establishment of a rural energy policy with practical recommendations in the areas of household energy and the development of biofuels from Jatropha crops. In Mongolia, ASTAE activities provided market-based approaches, as well as policy recommendations, for switching to energy-efficient heating stoves and cleaner fuels in ger households. In Cambodia, ASTAE supported activities that focused on creating sustainable businesses models, especially focused on empowering women, with strong scale-up potential for enterprises that produce affordable, energy-efficient products for local utilization, with provisions to train participants in the skills they require to participate in planning, working in, and managing those enterprises.


Status of 2007–10 Performance Indicators

In addition to the ASTAE activities disbursements just described and to World Bank–related investment projects (covered at the end of this chapter), ASTAE tracks a set of indicators showing the trajectory of its impact in supporting sustainable energy development.


The indicators were chosen to illustrate each pillar. Although they may not cover the pillar’s entire spectrum—for example, renewable energy can be used to indicate more than generating electricity—they convey the predominant trend within each. They are usually available from World Bank project documentation and are therefore easily referenced from published sources. Achievements are measured as both a direct result of related World Bank loans and as the indirect impacts derived from World Bank and ASTAE technical assistance to country stakeholders. Whenever relevant, the aggregate value achieved for each indicator is put in context by comparing it to an equivalent output at the level of  a country of the region, using U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA) 2008 data.


Appendix 2 of the ASTAE annual report (FY10) provides a table linking all ASTAE activities disbursed in fiscal 2010 to the related World Bank projects, and shows their contributions to ASTAE indicators. The contribution of each project is cumulative over the business plan period to derive the indicators described below.


Renewable Energy Pillar

The renewable energy pillar is illustrated by an indicator for electricity generated using renewable fuel. Through support to projects that directly facilitate investments, ASTAE activities led to increased capacity and generation from renewable sources. As this indicator focuses on electricity, it precludes investments in renewable sources of heat (such as for cooking or space heating), but is nonetheless considered a good marker for investments in renewable energy in general.


Indicator 1: New capacity and increased generation of renewable electricity

Table 2Table 2 provides the renewable electricity capacity added during the four years of the business plan period, both directly through subsequent World Bank loans and indirectly from investments facilitated by World Bank projects and ASTAE activities.


This indicator is unchanged from fiscal 2009, as no major new projects related to renewable energy were presented to the Board of Directors in fiscal 2010. Most of the World Bank-funded renewable energy capacity growth over prior years was from wind in China and geothermal in Indonesia. Smaller contributions were added through solar or biofuels in other countries such as Mongolia and Tonga. Indirect capacity addition was also found in these two countries, where technical assistance to the governments in policy and sector reforms is expected to attract substantial private sector projects to scale up renewable energy.


ASTAE’s targets for renewable–based electricity were not expressed in installed capacity, but rather in annual electricity generation of 1,000 GWh directly and 10,000 GWh indirectly once projects were fully commissioned. However, as most Bank projects do not provide renewable electricity generated, but rather provide the number of MW installed and estimate the corresponding GWh, ASTAE follows the same process. As shown in the summary table 6 (following), these targets were met and exceeded during the business plan period.


World Bank projects supported by ASTAE during fiscal 2007–10 are expected to install 1,030 MW of renewable energy that will generate 1,579 GWh annually once commissioned. This is equivalent to the total installed capacity of Lao PDR and Cambodia in 2008 and all electricity generated in Cambodia in 2008.


In addition, ASTAE- and World Bank-funded support to frameworks, regulations, and investment mechanisms favorable to renewable energy development are expected to contribute indirectly to 12,400 MW being installed by utilities and private investors, which is expected to generate 18,000 GWh annually once commissioned.


Energy-Efficiency Pillar

The energy-efficiency pillar is represented by an indicator of the quantity of electricity saved, or generation avoided, by decreasing consumption, reducing waste, or both. It illustrates the support to projects that limit the need for electricity generation throughout the year and limit the need for additional installed capacity to meet annual peak demand. Because this indicator focuses on electricity, it does not reflect the investments in heating, primarily space heating in northeast Asia, or in cookstove improvements. It is nonetheless considered a good marker for investments in energy efficiency.


Indicator 2: Electricity savings resulting from efficiency improvements

Table 3Table 3 provides a summary of cumulative annual electricity savings that derive from ASTAE-supported World Bank projects once fully implemented. These estimates are calculated based on direct savings through World Bank loans or on indirect support by way of investments facilitated by World Bank and ASTAE technical support.


As noted earlier, ASTAE activities related to improving efficiency in the power sector took place in fewer countries. This indicator also remains unchanged from the level reached in fiscal 2009, because while several projects presented to the Board in fiscal 2010 were related to energy efficiency, their impact was measured in decreased CO2 emissions rather than GWh saved.


ASTAE provided significant financial support to electricity savings in the Vietnam rural electrification project, which has delivered direct impact, improving medium- and low-voltage networks and reducing losses dramatically—representing 95 percent of total program-wide direct savings. As for indirect savings, one major source of impact (76 percent of total) was the result of ASTAE-supported activity in China that led to banks creating new financial products to fund energy-efficiency projects; another important result came through ASTAE contribution to the energy-efficiency roadmap in Thailand that helped focus the government on priority sectors with the highest savings potential.


The summary table 6 shows that the business plan targets for both direct and indirect annual electricity savings will be exceeded. When all projects are operational, direct savings will be 1,586 GWh annually and indirect savings will be more than twice the target, at 26,150 GWh annually. The latter figure is equivalent to what would have been saved by halting electricity generation in the Philippines for six months in 2008.


Access to Modern Energy Services Pillar

The access to energy pillar is measured in terms of number of households that received new or improved connections to modern energy services, regardless of the type of fuel used. Under this measurement method, an improved wood-burning stove that reduces smoke emissions and decreases consumption of raw wood for the same heat output counts the same as an improved electricity connection. Although the type of service differs amply—cooking and heating on one hand and lighting, information, and (sometimes) productive uses on the other—they are treated here as being of the same value to the beneficiary.


Distinctions made to differentiate connection types are based on whether they are new connections or improved ones, and whether they are direct or indirect connections.


Indicator 3: Households with access to modern energy services

New connections to electricity services have a life-changing impact, whether because of new opportunities opened by access to electricity or improved efficiency in daily tasks made possible by the use of powered tools and appliances. Improved connections also help remove constraints on households, often by lowering the amount of fuel needed or improving the reliability of existing services, thereby eliminating the need for backup service. For example, improved electricity connections in Vietnam helped reduce the need for alternative sources of lighting, such as kerosene lamps or candles, that were needed when unplanned blackouts were a frequent occurrence.


It should be noted, however, that the distinction between new and improved services is not always as obvious as it might appear, as a new connections is often in fact an improved connection to the same service using a more efficient fuel source. For example, a new connection to electricity displaces the use of kerosene for lighting or batteries for radios, and provides a much more efficient and less costly source, but does not bring new access to lighting services or radio use, as these were already in place.


Table 4Table 4 shows that the rural electricity energy project in Vietnam is by far the most important achievement in increasing household access under the ASTAE program in the East Asia and Pacific Region. This is because large numbers of people were not connected to the national grid and because the government took voluntary actions to provide universal access to electricity.


Access to electricity remains the major component of the indicator, but space heating is also represented in Mongolia, as well as cooking stoves and biogas in Cambodia and Timor-Leste. In fiscal 2010, ASTAE activities in Lao PDR contributed to a rural electricity project that will add 37,700 new households to the grid.


Direct targets have been met, with ASTAE-supported World Bank projects financing improved services to 2 million households (four times the target of 500,000) and new access to modern energy services to an additional 648,450 households (129 percent of the target of 500,000 households).


Indirect targets were partly met when assessing new and improved access to energy separately, but as an aggregate measurement, ASTAE’s achievement in this regard has exceeded the targets. ASTAE-supported projects fell 20 percent short of meeting the goal of 250,000 households with indirect improved services. However, the new access that resulted was more than nine times the modest target of 50,000 households, and with 470,000 households, would also have been well over target had it been set at the same level as the improved services target.


In sum, ASTAE’s commitment to include access to energy as a new pillar, in addition to its historic pillars of renewable energy and energy efficiency, has been followed by bold action and impressive results.


Cross-Cutting Indicators

A fourth and a fifth indicator that cut across the other three pillars also have been defined. One is dependent on the results from the three pillars’ individual indicators, while the other is a more generic assessment of ASTAE’s overall footprint across the region.


The fourth indicator measures reductions in CO2 emissions, representing the overall impact on greenhouse gas abatement. It is an important metric to track because CO2 emissions are considered the main contributor to the greenhouse effect. ASTAE activities have a direct impact on CO2 reduction through World Bank project contributions to renewable energy, energy efficiency, and improved access to modern energy services.


The fifth indicator ensures that financial assistance is given to all countries in the region and avoids the unintended trap of focusing on large countries just to meet the earlier four indicators.


Indicator 4: Avoided greenhouse gas emissions

This indicator estimates the quantity of CO2 emissions that would be avoided over 20 years (the conventional lifespan of projects or equipment) through ASTAE-supported World Bank projects. It determines the CO2 equivalent saved directly and indirectly by replacing conventional thermal power plants with renewable energy and realizing the potential energy savings.


Table 5Table 5 shows that China brings in more than half of the direct CO2 savings. However, projects in Indonesia and Vietnam contribute large shares of avoided CO2 emissions. The table also confirms that to substantially scale up CO2 emission mitigation, support to country programs that encourage sustainable energy use in energy-intensive economic sectors has the greatest effect. This is illustrated by the fact that indirect CO2 savings overall are 10 times greater than direct savings. The indirect savings are led by savings expected from restarting a major investment in geothermal in Indonesia and by continued private sector investment in alternative energy in China.


The CO2 targets have been met. The direct impact value, estimated at 114 million tons, or 162 percent of the target, would be roughly equivalent to all of Vietnam’s CO2 emissions in 2008. The indirect savings, estimated to be 1,097 million tons, or 140 percent of the target, would be equivalent to the total CO2 emissions of the African continent in 2008.


Indicator 5: Countries benefiting from ASTAE support

ASTAE provided financial support to activities in 13 countries, as well as to several regional activities, well exceeding the target of a minimum of 10 countries. Many of the Pacific Islands countries were well represented, in addition to the large continental countries. The differences among countries in the East Asia and Pacific Region where ASTAE is active are vast, ranging from China, the dominant economy of the Region, to the much smaller Tonga. All ASTAE activities are designed to adapt to the wide variety of issues throughout the region, as well as to the country context. Table 6 provides a summary of all indicators discussed above.

Table 6

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