South Asia, which accounts for over a quarter of the world’s population, is bolstering its transmission and distribution infrastructure to meet growing energy demand, not only by expanding power grids but also by improving renewable energy sources such as solar and hydropower.

The electricity policies of South Asian countries aim at providing electricity to every household.

  • Objective: The objective is to supply reliable and quality electricity in an efficient manner, at reasonable rates and to protect consumer interests.

The expansion of electricity coverage across industries and households benefits South Asian countries significantly.

  • Enhances GDP: Electrification boosts GDP because a 0.46 percent increase in energy consumption translates to a 1% rise in GDP per capita. It not only improves people’s lives, but it also stimulates the economy by increasing the country’s GDP.
  • For Middle-Income Countries More energy leads to more investment and economic activity both inside and outside the country, making it more feasible than other types of investments like foreign direct investment.
  • Sustainable Development Goals(SDG):
  • South Asian countries’ efforts to adopt renewable energy sources are geared toward:
  • increasing employment (SDG1)
  • abling to access tech-based health solutions (SDG 3)
  • helping online education through affordable internet with energy access (SDG 4)
  • engaging more female solar entrepreneurs. (SDG 5)
  • ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy (SDG 7)
  • improving infrastructure with access to electricity (SDG 9)
  • For examples:
  • Solar power-driven electrification in rural Bangladesh
  • India’s pledge to move 40% of total energy produced to renewable energy
  • For instance:
  • Bangladesh’s enhanced GDP: The industrial and agricultural sectors, which cannot function effectively without electricity, account for 50.3 percent of Bangladesh’s GDP.
  • Nepal’s rapid urbanisation: Since the earthquake in 2015, GDP growth has averaged 7.3 percent, thanks to rapid urbanisation supported by higher energy consumption.
  • India’s rising power demand: India is leading South Asia in the use of renewable energy, with its yearly power consumption increasing by 6%.

Steps taken towards green growth, green energy:

  • Abundant Energy resources:

Because South Asia has abundant renewable energy resources (hydropower, solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass), leaders are increasingly focusing on efficient, creative, and advanced energy production technologies in order to achieve 100% electrification.

  • Net Zero Pledge: In his ‘net zero by 2070’ statement at COP 26 in Ghasgow, Indian Prime Minister stated India’s goal of increasing renewable energy capacity from 450GW to 500GW by 2030.
  • Clean Development Mechanism (CDM): The clean development mechanism was created with two goals in mind: to assist developed countries in meeting their carbon reduction obligations, and to aid developing countries in attaining sustainable development.
  • Benefits such as poverty reduction, energy efficiency and improved quality of life were realised when there was India-Bhutan hydro trade in 2010.
  • International Solar Alliance:
  • The International Solar Alliance (ISA) is an international treaty-based organisation with a global purpose to catalyse solar growth by lowering funding and technological costs.
  • The International Solar Alliance (ISA) is the nodal agency for the One Sun One World One Grid (OSOWOG) initiative, which aims to transmit solar energy generated in one region to meet the needs of another.
  • It is an Indian initiative that was launched on the sidelines of the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP-21) on November 30, 2015 in Paris, France, by the Prime Minister of India and the President of France, with 121 solar resource-rich countries lying fully or partially between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn as prospective members.
  • Rooftop solar panel programme: In Bangladesh, rural places that are unreachable with traditional grid based electricity have 45% of their power needs met through a rooftop solar panel programme.
  • Cross-border power sharing projects:

The current participation in cross border power-sharing projects has been restricted among three nations, Nepal, India and Bangladesh.

  • India-Bhutan: Bhutan exports 70% of its own hydropowered electricity to India worth almost U.S. $ 100 million.
  • India-Nepal: Nepal not only sells surplus hydroelectricity to India but also exports fossil fuel to India worth U.S. $1.2 billion.
  • India-Bangladesh: India exports 1200 MW of electricity to Bangladesh, sufficient for almost 25% of the daily energy demand, with a significant amount from the Kokraajhar power plant in Assam.
  • Regional Energy Trade agreements:
  • India-Nepal petroleum pipeline deal
  • Agreements for Energy Cooperation under The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)
  • India-Bhutan hydroelectric joint venture
  • Myanmar-Bangladesh-India gas pipeline (BBIN)
  • Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI)


South Asia’s electricity production has increased exponentially, from 340 terawatt hours (TWh) in 1990 to 1500 TWh in 2015.

  • Electrification:
  • Bhutan, the Maldives, and Sri Lanka were the first nations in the world to attain 100% power in 2019, and Bangladesh was just added to the list.
  • The percentages for India and Afghanistan are 94.4 % and 97.7 %, respectively, while Pakistan has a record of 73.91 %.
  • Price:
  • Bhutan has the cheapest electricity price in South Asia (U.S. $0.036 per kWh), while India has the highest (U.S. $ 0.08 per kWh).
  • Power dema006Eds:
  • The Bangladesh’s government has significantly revamped power production resulting in power demands from 4942 kWh in 2009 to 25,514 MW as of 2022.
  • Transition :
  • India is attempting to move to renewable energy for 40% of total consumption, while Pakistan continues to struggle to alleviate power shortages that are wreaking havoc on its economy.


  • Challenges: Generation, transmission, distribution, rural electrification, research and development, environmental issues, energy conservation and human resource training.
  • Requires geographically different approach: Geographical differences between countries call for a different approach depending on resources.
  • While India relies heavily on coal, according for nearly 55% of its electricity population, 99% 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.
  • Social and Ideational issues:
  • South Asia’s regional geopolitics is determined by the conflation of identity, politics and international border.
  • Transnational and energy projects would thus engage with multiple social and ideational issues which is a major limitation for peaceful energy.

Way ahead:

  • Resilient Energy Frameworks: Building-design techniques, climate-proof infrastructure, a flexible monitoring framework, and an integrated resource plan that encourages renewable energy innovation are the elements of resilient energy frameworks that are needed.
  • Public- Private Partnership: Because the government cannot be the sole source of reliable and secure energy frameworks, public-private partnerships may be a precursor in tackling the energy transition issues for the world’s most populated area.
  • In 2022, private financing accounted for 44% of household power in Bangladesh, 48.5% in India and 53% in Pakistan.
  • Regional Security Approach: Conflict resolution and peace building should be connected and viewed through the perspective of energy trade. It would aid in the smoothing of the energy process between nations by involving a larger number of stakeholders.

 Editorial Analysis