UPSC Daily Editorial Analysis | 26 April 2022

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What the article is about?

  • Talks about the present status and way ahead for achieving an energy-secure South Asia.

Syllabus: GS-II International Relations, Regional Grouping; GS-III Energy, Infrastructure and Economic Growth, SDGs

South Asia and Energy:

  • South Asia- a fourth of the world's population living on 5% of the world’s landmass.
  • Electricity generation in South Asia has risen exponentially, from 340 terawatt-hours (TWh) in 1990 to 1,500 TWh in 2015.
    • Bangladesh has achieved 100% electrification recently while Bhutan, the Maldives, and Sri Lanka accomplished this in 2019.
    • For India and Afghanistan, the figures are 94.4% and 97.7%, respectively, while for Pakistan it is 73.91%.
    • Bhutan has the cheapest electricity price in South Asia (U.S.$0.036 per kilo- watt hour, or kWh) while India has the highest (U.S.$0.08 per kWh.)
    • India is trying to make a transition to renewable energy to provide for 40% of total consumption, while Pakistan is still struggling to reduce power shortage negatively impacting its economy.
  • The electricity policies of South Asian countries aim at providing electricity to every household.
    • The objective is to supply reliable and quality electricity in an efficient manner, at reasonable rates and to protect consumer interests.
    • The issues these address include generation, transmission, distribution, rural electrification, research and development, environmental issues, energy conservation and human resource training.
  • India relies heavily on coal, accounting for nearly 55% of its electricity production, 99.9% of Nepal’s energy comes from hydropower, 75% of Bangladesh’s power production relies on natural gas, and Sri Lanka leans on oil, spending as much as 6% of its GDP on importing oil.
  • Bilateral and multilateral energy trade agreements such as the India-Nepal petroleum pipeline deal, the India-Bhutan hydroelectric joint venture, the Myanmar-Bangladesh-India gas pipeline, the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) sub-regional framework for energy cooperation, and the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline. 

Way Ahead:

  • Resilient energy frameworks are what is needed such as better building-design practices, climate-proof infrastructure, a flexible monitory framework, and an integrated resource plan that supports renewable energy innovation
    • In 2022, private financing accounted for 44% of household power in Bangladesh, 48.5% in India, and 53% in Pakistan.
  • Public-private partnerships can be a harbinger in meeting the energy transition challenges for the world’s most populous region. 

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