South Asia has been facing acute challenges of energy and that of Climate Change. Endowed with abundant natural resources like the Water and Sun, it is of utmost importance that South Asia decides to meet its energy requirements through the renewable energy, thereby also contributing towards helping address environmental concerns.
A push towards renewable energy with the right policy framework will boost the energy market of South Asia. What challenges did the energy sector face and with the rebounding of industry, can the renewable sources of energy meet the growing demands of the industry in the coming years was one of the issues discussed in an online programme on Renewable Energy (RE).
During the session on renewable energy sector entrepreneurs, policy makers and specialists from Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka took part in an online business dialogue on the ideas and actions on the renewable energy sector online, organized by Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF) on 28th January, 2021.
Lakmal Fernando, Director and CEO of Regen Renewable Private Limited from Sri Lanka said that there is a general perception that renewable energy is expensive. However, it has been proven wrong globally and it is very evident that RE is cheaper than fossil fuel based energy.
He said the government and the NGOs need to be more proactive to communicate and educate people on RE. There are some indications that people in Sri Lanka has moved into the use of RE and they have realized that RE is cheaper.
Nawa Raj Dhakal, Deputy Executive Director of Alternative Energy Promotion Center from Nepal said the situation in Nepal is a bit different from other countries in the region, as Nepal has ample hydro resources and this energy is supplied through grid. They also have a good exchange of power between India and Nepal.
In the recent years, with the joint effort of the government, NGOs and Private sector, they have been able to raise awareness on the RE, mainly on the hydro power project front.
In the solar sector so far they have promoted solar home system for one million households and solar mini grids are coming up for the areas which are away from the main grids. Recently they have set up the electricity regulatory commission to look after the consumers so that they get the electricity at a cheaper rate. The individual households use RE for lighting and they are encouraging them to use it for cooking as well. Until three years ago, Nepal had power cut problems or insufficient power supply but it has been solved now. Currently, Nepal is looking for more projects in the coming years.
Lakmal Fernando also talked on the job creation and the prospects with regard to renewable sector in Sri Lanka. So far over 10,000 job opportunities have been created and there can be more since this sector has more potential to create more jobs.
The participants shared their opinions and benefits of the renewable energy in their own country and how it has helped in creating job opportunities.
Dr Carsten Klein, Regional Director of South Asia (FNF) concluded the session. A similar discussion on labour markets will be held next month as well.
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