Promote South Asian energy trade: US diplomat

September 16th, 2008 - 11:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Sep 16 (IANS) South Asian countries should explore the prospects and potential of cross-border energy trading, US Consul General in Kolkata Beth A. Payne said here Tuesday.”There is a great opportunity for the South Asian countries to work collaboratively by learning from one another’s experiences. They should also explore the opportunities for accelerating the development of indigenous energy resources within their own region,” Payne said on the inaugural day of a three-day seminar on Regional Clean Coal Partnership Programme organised by United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

“This is a win-win proposition for all since such partnerships would not only mitigate national power shortages but will also ensure regional energy security through the establishment of regional cross-border power trade arrangements,” Payne maintained.

Representatives from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan are participating in the seminar, which aims at identifying and initiating a partnership among the neighbouring nations under a mutually beneficial framework.

“To augment regional energy security, it is important for the countries to share experiences and best practices to face the forthcoming challenges in the clean coal energy sector,” Payne pointed out.

She said South Asian countries can tackle energy-related problems by sharing experiences in the areas of enhancing coalmine productivity, coal industry regulation, coal quality optimisation, introducing environment-friendly coal mining practices and clean coal technologies for power generation.

India, as the world’s fourth largest producer of coal, is the regional leader in coal mining, coal preparation and usage. Similarly, Pakistan and Bangladesh use natural gas for generating electricity and have very limited coal power generation.

“With ever increasing demand for power, these countries are now beginning to turn their attention towards coal. Sri Lanka is also planning to establish a number of new power plants using imported coal,” Payne said, adding that Afghanistan is keen on exploiting its coal reserves.

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