Powering South Asian Integration - Editorial

Development and Deployment of a Power Grid in South Asia will help soothe bitter relations and hard borders among South Asian nations.

· 4 min read
Powering South Asian Integration - Editorial
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Powering South Asian Integration - Context and Background

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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 much attention and is one of the heated topics among politicians political arena.

The New Protocols have been unexpected, unforeseen, and surprising from the perspective of India’s stance on the same earlier.

This is a very ideal and good example of a Political pragmatic attitude or policy.

It is important from many perspectives, to lead the Electricity trade into South Asia and modify more concessions to India’s neighboring nations due to Political and Economic Importance.

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 the creation of the South Asian Regional Market, and energy generators in the 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.

Economic Integration of South Asia

Energy Security is the stabilizer or factor of economic stability in the 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 a strategic approach as such;

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

SAARC Power Grid will integrate with South Asia

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  • Power flow in direction of our choice.
  • With the help of SAARC, power grid development or overproduction of power in one region can be shared with the power deficit in another.
  • 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 the coastal borders of India or Sri Lanka could be sent over and used elsewhere like Pakistan and Nepal.
  • The natural abundance of water resources (hydro resources) in the East Indian region could be exploited and provide electric power supply to Myanmar, Bhutan, and Beyond.

Some Annoyance and nuisance need to be addressed

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  • The new protocols or guidelines prevent or intercept any other entity other than Indian Generators, in the neighboring regions (only owned by govt.) from selling power to India.
  • However, the private sector entities (privately held companies and corporations) are excluded from the constraint that prevents selling power to India.
  • The constraint or restriction on access to the Indian Market hampered Nepal’s Hydropower Power built majorly for export.
  • Bhutan was taken a step back due to a 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 neighboring nations. The new guidelines and protocols resolve demands from other south Asian nations and make the SAARC power grid less restrictive and more inclusive.

South Asian Electricity: Tool for a Greener Grid:

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

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

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

Neighboring nations of Nepal and Bhutan have recognized and agreed to the Sustainable use of Hydropower Reserves for their national prosperity.

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