Let there be Light
A more coherent and harmonious energy policy in the SAARC region could provide more workable solutions.
South Asian nations face a critical energy shortage.
South Asia, being energy demand and supply deficient in aggregate and faced with imbalances, is looking for sustainable solutions. Joint efforts by member states of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) for finding sustainable energy solutions are underway but much more is desired. The region’s huge potential of renewable clean energy remains untapped and multidimensional challenges require
harmonising regional policies with the new global energy landscape that promises solutions with innovation. Cooperation among SAARC states can ensure efficient utilization of the region's resources, increase in reliability of energy supply, economy in operationalization of initiatives, mutual support in contingencies and confidence building measures for geo-political solution strategy.
In the past, efforts were made for creating an "Energy Ring" within SAARC —policy paper - Energy Policy in SOUTH ASIA: The Way Forward to Prompt Regional Trade - prepared by the Chamber of Commerce & Industry, SAARC . According to this study, “the key challenges include transforming bilateral power exchange into multilateral vision beyond four-nation Power Grid (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal), Competition and Low-carbon Development.” There are other challenges as well, mainly on the political front, like energy leadership in the region, mechanism for India-Pakistan energy exchange, pumping of energy from Central Asia and the Middle East and the shortfall of SAARC energy resources for its requirement.
India, instead of taking the lead in energy within SAARC — Pakistan lacks the capacity as it faces severe energy crisis for the last two decades — has moved along with China, towards the ten members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for shifting the centre of gravity of the global energy system towards Asia. The energy demand in Southeast Asia has expanded by two-and-a-half times since 1990, its rate of growth being among the fastest in the world. Economic and demographic trends point to further growth, lifting the region’s energy use per capita from just half of the global average today.
The United States is the best model, having taken remarkable strides in the clean energy economy through favourable taxation and subsidies in the wake of the American