South Asia is home to 25% of humanity, yet only half of
these people have access to electrical services.
Every day, millions of women and children walk miles to
gather wood and fetch water – a condition that’s impossible for most of us to
comprehend. 2012 is the United Nations’ “Year of Sustainable Energy For All,” and it’s urgently needed in this region.
The recent announcement by the Energy Ministers of the South
Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is most promising. Five
nations: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan have agreed to work
together towards an integrated electric “energy ring.”
Once developed, hydropower from the Himalayas and solar
energy from India can be transmitted to all countries – taking advantage of the
abundant renewable energy in South Asia. In fact, we recently updated our GENI
report on the “Renewable Energy Potential of India” -- finding
sufficient solar, wind and hydro potential to meet 100% of their power
As stated in the Power Engineering story, “The
benefits of country-wide and regional policies in the energy sector are
manifold. Bringing electricity to the poor millions in the region will help
redress untold miseries of the people and catalyze poverty alleviation efforts.
It will give people access to better education, health, water and sanitation
services, technologies that will open up newer opportunities for communication
links, information sharing, storage of food grains and several other societal
benefits that will bring promote stability, peace and cohesion to these
exactly the kind of cross-border cooperation that we promote. It’s
especially heartening to see India and Pakistan working together on these
interties as the benefits will accrue to both. Interconnected grids are a
result of more cooperation between neighbors. Our goal is for every nation to
interconnect along their borders for the mutual benefit of all.
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