SAARC grid seen as key to solving South Asia's power woes news
24 November 2011

Regional co-operation is key to meeting energy requirements for economic growth and ensuring energy security in South Asia, Sudhir Vyas, secretary in the ministry of external affairs said today

With India looking at increasing power availability by 800,000 GW by 2030 to sustain GDP growth rates of 8-9 per cent, the country's demand for energy will drive the formation of the SAARC energy grid, said Vyas.

Releasing a report on `South Asia Energy Cooperation and Business Opportunities in the Power Sector', published by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Vyas said there is immense scope for cooperation in the power sector.

While countries are taking some initial steps, he said, much more needs to be done to expedite regional cooperation in this space. ''A lot is being done at the bilateral level but this needs to be scaled up to the regional level,'' he said.

Focusing on the policy issues that need to be addressed for energy security through regional cooperation, Kirit Parikh, Chairman of Integrated Research and Action for Development (IRADe) said a competitive electricity sector with independent regulators is imperative to meeting the goals of power to all and poverty alleviation.

''There is clearly a strong argument for energy cooperation given the advantages of lower costs, more effective utilisation of resources and an increase in capacity factor. However, the way forward is not only a strong reliance on large-scale government interventions but the promotion of private sector participation on smaller platforms is also important. This can be done by the development of an institutional set up which facilitates the setting up of transmission lines and true open access extended across borders,'' he said.

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SAARC grid seen as key to solving South Asia's power woes