Energy Cooperation in South Asia: Commitments & New dimensions

SAARC Chamber of Commerce & Industry organized a one day seminar on Energy Cooperation in South Asia: Commitments & New dimensions on November 24, 2012, in Federation House, New Delhi, India. The event was organized in collaboration with Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry and in partnership with Freidrich Naumann Foundation. The event was organized with objective for providing gap-analysis in respect of harnessing untapped renewable energy potential, presenting SWOT analysis of existing conventional energy resources and suggesting ways and means for barrier free flow of secured energy trade and investments, thereby ensuring greater regional cooperation.

Mr. Gireesh B Pradhan, Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Government of India was the Chief Guest of the seminar and inaugurated the conference. During the inaugural speech by Mr. Gireesh B. Pradhan Secretary, Ministry of new and alternative energy, India emphasized for energy cooperation at bilateral and multilateral levels stressing that a shift towards alternative energy was drastically required to mitigate the global warming. Alternative energy in India contributes 12.7% to the total energy production presently.

Mr. Gireesh B Pradhan, Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Government of India

Earlier the conference convenes with introductory remarks of Mr. Iqbal Tabish, Secretary General, SAARC CCI. Mr. Iqbal Tabish in his remarks said that lowerper capita consumption of electricity was negatively affecting the Human Development Index of South Asia and emphasized for business friendly and flexible regulatory mechanism to encourage and promote energy cooperation in South Asia.

Mr. Vikramjit Singh Sahney while delivering keynote address during inaugural session said that although the region had witnessed encouraging GDP growth (from 5.5% to 6.5%) during 2004-2010, un-interrupted supply of energy at affordable price was drastically needed to sustain this economic growth. “It is unfortunate that the region is faced with huge shortage of electricity to the tune of 50,000 MW” said President SAARCCCI and urged for collective efforts to transform South Asia from an energy-starved to an energy efficient region.

Mr. P.S. Bami, President India Energy noted huge disparity in terms of per capita consumption of electricity, which was only 779 Kw/h in India much lower in comparison of 30,000 Kw/h in USA and 2631 kw/h in China while 300 million people only in India had no access to electricity despite the fact that India had more potential of energy production against energy demand.
Mr. Vikramjit Singh Sahney

Mr. Tariq Sayeed, former president of SAARC CCI said that despite the fact that the South Asia had the hydropower potential of more than 150,000 MW and estimated solar and wind power potential of more than half million MWs, the region was faced with 50,000 MW short-fall at presently. “Since the energy demand in the region would be doubled by 2020, there was dire need to invest in energy related projects “ said Mr. Tariq Sayeed and urged for collective efforts to make SAARC grid functional.

The inaugural session was also addressed by Mr. Subodh Kumar Agarwal, Executive (Programmes), Friedrich Naumann Foundation New Delhi and Dr. Arbind Prasad, Director General, FICCI. The inaugural session was followed by technical session which was addressed by energy experts like Mr. Mollah Amzad from Bangladesh, Mr. Mr Ashish Khanna, Lead Energy Specialist and India Energy Team Leader, World Bank , Mr Nitya Nanda, Fellow and Area Convener (Centre for Global Agreements, Leg. and Trade), TERI, Mr. Gyanendra L. Pradhan, Chairman, SAARC CCI Council on Climate change, Energy and water Resources, Nepal and Mr. Kanwar Muhammad Javed Iqbal, Senior Research Associate-Environment, Sustainable Development Policy Institute, Pakistan and Mr. Kosala Wickramnayake, Vice President, SAARC CCI (Sri Lanka) addressed the Conference.

Mr. Vikramjit Singh Sahnay, President, SAARC CCI presenting SAARC CCI recent publication
to Mr Gireesh B Pradhan, Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy,
Government of India, during its launching ceremony.

The conference concluded with the expert’s opinion to urge upon the need for adoption of integrated approach to tap enormous potential in hydropower and alternative energy while terming it as an inevitable factor for sustainable growth and deepening of economic cooperation. At the conclusion of conference, SAARC CCI also launched it recent publication on “Energy Policy in SOUTH ASIA”.

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