Powering South Asian Integration - Editorial

Powering South Asian Integration - Context and Background

The Union Government’s, Ministry of Power released the memorandum that put forward the protocols for the Seamless flow of Electricity/Power throughout South Asian borders. The issuance of this memo attracted many attentions and one of the heated topics among politicians political arena. The New Protocols has unexpected, unforeseen and surprising from the perspective of India’s stance to the same earlier. This is very ideal and good example of Political pragmatic attitude or policy. It is important from may perspectives, leading the Electricity trade into South Asia and modified more concession to India’s neighbouring nations due to Political and Economic Importance. The South Asia has greater importance and influence in shaping Indian Foreign Policy but this commitment was reaffirmed and revitalized. The New Protocols are the provisional and initial steps in the direction toward creation of South Asian Regional Market, and energy generators in subcontinent will compete to provide Low cost, Green and Renewable Energy options to Consumers. This will also help soothe bitter relations and hard borders among South Asian nations.

Powering South Asian Integration - Editorial

Economic Integration of South Asia

Energy Security is the stabilizer or factor of economic stability in SAARC region, because as much as 30% of the energy consumption and demands are through cross-border imports. In order to resolve this, India recommended strategic approach as such;

  • Control and Harness traditional and renewable energy sources.
  • Construction and foundation for inter-connected transmissions grid.
  • Practice effective and successful power trading agreements between nations.

South Asia is Vigorous trading market for power and energy sector but deficit in Power Supply is major concern from the supply side.

SAARC Power Grid will Integrate South Asia

  • Power flow in direction of our choice.
  • With the help of SAARC power grid development or over production of power in one region can be shared with power deficit other.
  • To demonstrate, consider an example: the Hydroelectric power from North-east India could be used in Afghanistan transported through Bangladesh, India and Nepal. Wind energy generated at coastal borders of the India or Sri Lanka could be send over and used elsewhere like Pakistan and Nepal.
  • The natural abundance of water resources (hydro resources) in East Indian region could be exploited and provide electric power supply to Myanmar, Bhutan and Beyond.

Some Annoyance or nuisance need to be Addressed

  • The new protocols or guidelines prevent or intercept any other entity other than Indian Generators, in the neighbouring regions (only owned by govt.) from selling power to India.
  • However the private sector entities (privately held companies and corporations) are excluded from constraint that prevents selling power to India.
  • The constraint or restriction on access to Indian Market, hampered Nepal’s Hydropower Power built majorly for export.
  • Bhutan was taken a step back due to clause or constraint, that power generating companies to be majorly owned and operated by Indian entities.
  • The Bangladesh opportunity turned into complications by giving all controls to India for addressing its power deficit and energy market.
  • The disproportionate constraints and restrictions were resolved after two years of repetitive protest and follow up from neighbouring nations. The new guidelines and protocols resolves demands from other south asian nations and makes the SAARC power grid less restrictive and more inclusive.

South Asian Electricity: Tool for a Greener Grid:

To deploy the Liberal Trading Regime, also into India’s national interest. Currently India is in middle of finding new renewable energy source and transition from traditional energy source backed by oil and coal, the “Regional Trade” is progressive step towards “Grid Stability” in the south asian region.

Indian approach and commitment towards renewables will amount around 50% of the total power generation within 10 years of timeframe. This attracts the question of how Stabilize the Grid, during off season or when sun goes down.

The answer to “Stabilization of Grid” could be multiple source of generations (sun, wind, hydro etc.). These wider pool of energy generation source will compensate the concerns about, Off Season and Grid Stabilization during peak demand.

Neighbouring nations of Nepal and Bhutan has recognised and agreed to Sustainable use of Hydropower Reserves for their national properrity.

The indicators Per-Capita Electricity Consumption and Human Development Index (HDI) are directly proportional to each other. The effect (influence) of electricity of on human lives is deep rooted (from Basic Needs, Healthcare, Education, Employment etc.)

Important Links (External)

  1. Power Grid for a Sustainable and Low Carbon Future.
  2. SAARC Energy Ministers meets in New Delhi, India.
  3. Prospect of a SAARC Power Grid.

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