Mar 18, 2018-Stakeholders stressed on the vital role that cross-border electricity trading could play in South Asian region for the larger economic integration of the region. Speaking at a plenary session titled ‘Regional Integration and Energy Cooperation:
Success through Synergy’ during Saarc Business Leaders Conclave being organised in Kathmandu, experts urged the government to formulate enabling policy and private sector to increase investment for energy cooperation in the region.
Addressing the session, Alaina B Teplitz, the ambassador of the United States to Nepal hailed several developments in recent years, saying they have underlined the region’s commitment to energy cooperation. “The development includes Saarc framework agreement on energy cooperation, power trade agreement between Nepal and India and bilateral framework between India and Bangladesh and India and Bhutan,” said Teplitz. “Existing power trade in the region has demonstrated win-win benefits for all South Asian countries and provides a strong foundation for accelerating regional power trade.”
Teplitz presented the example of Bhutan which has achieved significant prosperity via hydro electricity trading. She said Bhutan’s surplus hydropower exports to India account for 25 percent of its GDP. In another example she explained how Bangladesh is eliminating power cuts and reducing cost of energy by importing energy from India. “South Asia is moving along the path of energy cooperation and the next step is to coordinate regional energy regulations and policies,” she said.
The cross border electricity trade in the South Asian region stands at just over 2000MW
annually. India is importing around 1400MW of hydroelectricity from Bhutan while Bangladesh and Nepal are importing 500MW and 400MW from India annually.
A 2017 study report by USAID-funded South Asian Regional Initiative for Energy Integration (SARI/EI) which was unveiled
in the conclave showed that the trade volume will be doubled by 2020.
The same study showed that accelerated power trade between India and Nepal could increase Nepal’s GDP by over $120 billion in the next 30 years and without this energy trade, the growth rate would be 39 percent lower. “The result of the study shows that energy cooperation will be beneficial for everyone and ensure better economic development of the region,” said Vijay Karbanda, director of SARI/EI.
The Saarc Business Leader Conclave 2018 has brought together the region’s economic and business leaders and policy makers of South Asia on a common platform to discuss debate and create solutions and opportunities to take the region on the path of shared prosperity through economic integration. The conclave is hosting various plenary sessions with experts from sectors like energy, tourism, digital finance and agriculture among others.
Source: The Kathmandu Post