NEW DELHI: Power and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal has mooted the idea of building a SAARC nations’ power grid to wheel out excess power from one region and supply it to regions that report power shortage within the SAARC grouping.
Addressing the 5th meeting of SAARC Energy Ministers here on Friday, Goyal said “Rivers can flow only in one direction, but power can flow in the direction of our choice! I dream of a seamless SAARC power grid within the next few years. For example, hydroelectric power generated in North East India could be transported via Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, on to Afghanistan or offshore wind projects could be set up in Sri Lanka’s coastal borders to power Pakistan or Nepal. The possibilities are limitless.
Goyal was unanimously elected as a chairperson at the meeting.
While emphasising on the need for energy security for economic sustainability in the SAARC region, Goyal said the region should produce its own energy as 30 per cent of the energy demand of the SAARC region is met through imports.
Citing the Human Development Index he informed the leaders that household per capita consumption of electricity within SAARC is mere 128 units versus the global average of 3,045 units.
Advocating a three-pronged strategy to overcome the situation, the minister said there is need to harness conventional energy sources, build inter-connected grids and forge power trading agreements for effective utilisation of power.
Enumerating the intra-SAARC linkages, Goyal said India already has a 1450 MW power exchange pact with Bhutan, 500 MW with Bangladesh and 150 MW power exchange pact with Nepal.