New Delhi: Today, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced the launch of a new, five-year, $49 million initiative, the South Asia Regional Energy Partnership (SAREP), which will facilitate collaboration amongst Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka to improve access to affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy. 

While visiting New Delhi this week to advance our climate action partnership, USAID Deputy Assistant Administrator for Asia Änjali Kaur said, “At the April 2021 Leaders’ Climate Summit, President Biden and Prime Minister Modi announced the launch of the U.S.-India Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 Partnership, aimed at accelerating India’s ambitious 2030 climate goals. SAREP will support regional activities established under this collaboration and help our two countries demonstrate how the world can align swift climate action with inclusive and resilient development across the South Asia region.”

South Asia offers potential for increased energy diversity, greater regional connectivity, further private sector investment, and efficiency gains across power systems and utilities. To achieve ambitious renewable energy goals and increased energy efficiency, SAREP will offer opportunities to leap forward using advanced technologies and infrastructure, and help to facilitate a transition to sustainable energy, including through innovative financing. The clean energy transition will support women’s economic empowerment and lead to a wide range of economic and health benefits for the region’s 1.5 billion citizens. 

Tailored to the priorities of each country, the SAREP initiative will enable the deployment of renewable energy and energy-efficient technologies, transform and modernize utilities, drive regional cooperation, and stimulate private-sector participation and investments. In addition, SAREP includes a $12 million Partnership Fund that will issue several grants to demonstrate and advance innovative business models, technologies, and financing mechanisms.

As we fight to end and ultimately recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, South Asia will play a vital role in building a more sustainable future with greater access to affordable, reliable, and clean energy. Energy cooperation will be a key pillar in facilitating this transition for the region. The SAREP program, launched today, will harness South Asia’s tremendous clean energy potential in a way that not only reduces emissions and combats climate change, but spurs economic growth and powers health systems.