USAID Announces Launch of More Than $28 Million in Activities to Advance Regional Energy Markets in South Asia

Today at the U.S. government’s third Indo-Pacific Business Forum hosted virtually in Hanoi, Vietnam, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced three regional energy programs in South Asia, valued at more than $28 million, through the U.S. Government’s Asia Enhancing Development and Growth through Energy (Asia EDGE) initiative.  The initiative will improve access to affordable, secure, reliable, and sustainable energy through expanded, transparent, and efficient energy markets.

Building on their longstanding energy cooperation, the United States and India are working together on connectivity and economic development in the region.  Three programs will be vital to achieving Asia EDGE’s goals across the Indo-Pacific – the South Asia Group for Energy (SAGE), the South Asia Regional Energy Hub (SAREH), and the planned South Asia Regional Energy Partnership(SAREP).

Speaking on the announcement of the programs, U.S. Ambassador to India, Kenneth I. Juster said: “The United States is committed to supporting India in advancing our shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific.  The U.S. Government, through USAID, will leverage its technical expertise, regional presence, and convening power to assist the South Asia region in overcoming energy constraints and achieve long-term economic growth and stability.”

USAID created the multimedia platform SAREH to share Asia EDGE’s results throughout South Asia; coordinate with various South Asian stakeholders; and enhance knowledge-sharing, research, and resources between South Asian countries and USAID Missions.  SAGE, a consortium of U.S. Department of Energy National Labs partnering with South Asian energy leaders such as the Indian National Institutes of Wind- and Biomass Energy, will foster technical exchanges and analysis to keep South Asia on the cutting edge of advanced energy technologies.  The third program, SAREP, will proactively seek partnerships with the private sector, creating an “enabling environment” characterized by sound policies, effective institutions, transparency, non-restrictive competition, and reliable contract enforcement.  SAREP will use credit guarantees and other tools to increase flow of finance, provide technical assistance and business development services, and improve the bankability of energy projects to enhance private sector investments.

Through these three programs, USAID will award funding to South Asian and U.S. experts who will develop energy models and evaluate proposed energy solutions; to legal teams who will assist with effective government regulation; and to research and development, ensuring that South Asian countries identify more energy solutions.  The programs will allow energy to move more freely and efficiently across the region’s borders.  SAREH, SAGE, and SAREP will benefit the countries of South Asia, creating new opportunities through advanced energy technologies.

Under Asia EDGE, USAID’s support in developing a competitive regional power market in South Asia has led to transformative policy changes that have increased power trade in the region by 3,500 MW, which is equivalent to powering 2.3 million households.  In December 2018, India revised its guidelines on cross-border power trade, enabling other countries to use India’s transmission lines as a pass-through for their electricity exchanges.  This includes Nepal and Bangladesh, which in June 2019 struck an agreement to trade power using Indian power lines.

SAGE fact sheet: https://www.usaid.gov/india/south-asia-group-energy-sage

SAREH fact sheet: https://www.usaid.gov/india/south-asia-regional-energy-hub-sareh

For additional information about USAID’s role in advancing the U.S. Government’s vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific region, please visit: https://www.usaid.gov/indo-pacific-vision