SARI Energu

South Asia Regional Initiative for Energy Integration

CBET opportunities in SA

The South Asia region is endowed with limited fossil fuels but ample hydro resources. In addition to the conventional energy resources, there are huge renewable energy resources such as solar and wind. There is, however, a disparity in the distribution of these resources across the region. Electricity generation largely depends on available domestic resources. Some countries of the region have significant dependence on coal while others are dependent on hydro resources to generate electricity. Limited oil and gas resources have led to growing import dependency. Nepal and Bhutan are dependent on Himalayan-fed hydro resources. Bangladesh, the Maldives, and Sri Lanka are largely dependent on fossil fuels. Afghanistan is struggling to rebuild its hydro-electric capacity, but investments for new capacity are yet to catch up with its requirements. To further its capacities, it is importing electricity from trans-border linkages. India and Pakistan depend on a mix of hydro and fossil fuel-based capacity, though they are increasingly becoming more dependent on fossil fuels. Bhutan and Nepal are almost completely dependent upon hydro electricity to meet their requirements. It is observed that excessive dependence on one energy resource (due to energy endowments in different countries) raises concerns related to energy security.

Energy Resource Endowments in South Asian Countries

Country/Fuel Sources Coal Oil Natural Gas Biomass Hydropower*
(million tonnes) (million barrels) (trillion cubic feet) (million tonnes) (MW)
Afghanistan 440 NA 15 18-27 25,000
Bhutan 2 0 0 27 30,000
Bangladesh 884 12 8 0.08 330
India 90,085 5,700 39 139 150,000
Maldives 0 0 0 0.06 0
Nepal NA 0 0 27 83,000
Pakistan 17,550 324 33 59,000
Sri Lanka NA 150 0 12 2,000
Total 108,961 6,186 95 223-232 349,000

Renewable Energy Resource Endowment in South Asia

Renewables Bangladesh India Nepal Bhutan Pakistan* Sri Lanka
Solar Power(kWh/sq. m per day) 3.8-6.5 4-7 3.6-6.2 2.5-5 5.3 NA
Wind (MW) Very limited potential 151,918 3,000 4,825 24,000 25,000 MW

Complementary Demand Requirements: Opportunities for Trade Due to Diversity in Demand and Supply

The countries of the South Asia regional have non-coincident demand peaks across the year. Non-coincident Peaks in SAR Countries:
January February March April May June July August September October November December
India-North East
Low Medium High

Source: How Much Could South Asia Benefit from Regional Electricity Cooperation and Trade? World Bank Group policy research working paper 7341, June 2015.

Key Prospects for Cross Border Electricity Trade in the SA Region

Importing Countries

Exporting Countries

IndiaBhutanNepalBangladeshSri Lanka
IndiaSignificant quantity of hydro power(H)Significant hydro power export possibleSignificant amount of gas or power possible; resource uncertainSome peak power support possible
BhutanDry Season SupportUnlikely Similarity of resources and seasonal shortageSmall amount of thermal power and gas; connection via India (L)No Scope
NepalThermal power support. Dry season support.Unlikely. Similarity of resources and seasonal shortagesSmall amount of thermal power and gas; connection via India (L)No Scope
BangladeshHVDC back-to-back link. Sharing reserves; electricity swap Some hydro power; connection via India (L)Some hydro power; connection via India (L)Some hydro power; connection via India (L)No Scope
Sri LankaDry season and thermal power supportUnlikely (far off)Unlikely (far off)Unlikely (far off)