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Sustainable energy for all in South Asia: potential, challenges, and solutions

Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL), a global initiative launched by the United Nations in 2011, has considerable relevance to the current energy situation in South Asia. In 2010, approximately 417 million people in South Asia lacked access to electricity, equivalent to more than a third of the world’s population without access to electricity. The challenge of meeting energy demand is likely to get more complex, as it is growing to keep pace with the population growth and expanding economy. However, projected demand could be reduced substantially if energy efficient technologies are introduced and renewable energy potential is exploited. Regional cooperation and trade may also enhance energy security in the area; energy deficient economies could benefit by importing energy from neighbouring countries, and renewable resource rich countries could gain by attracting much needed capital investments to harness indigenous resources. This document describes the current energy scenario, highlights renewable energy potential in South Asian countries, discusses the challenges being faced in promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy, and recommends how governments, private sector, civil society and international development partners can contribute further to enhance access to more equitable, sustainable, and efficient energy throughout the region.

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