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One South Asia


Dependable supplies of electricity are vital to fuel South Asia's growing population and economy.


Interconnected power systems offer a number of benefits. They reduce the need to build reserve capacity in individual systems, create economies of scale to generate electricity with lower per-unit costs, and offer global climate benefits.


Electricity supply and demand patterns in some South Asian nations are complementary, especially at the sub-regional level. For example, wet seasons in Bhutan and Nepal, which produce hydropower, coincide with summer peak demand in India and Bangladesh, creating power export opportunities. Dry seasons in Nepal coincide with lower demand in India, offering an opportunity for Nepal to import power from India.  


Among many other activities, we supported the development of the first high capacity electricity transmission link between Nepal and India. This allows Nepal to import electricity for short-term needs during its dry seasons while creating conditions for future exports to the sub-region.


The World Bank works with a number of partners, including the South Asia Regional Trade Facilitation Program, the Program for Asia Connectivity and Trade, and the South Asia Water Initiative, to provide analyses and technical assistance to support cross-border connectivity. Some activities are listed below.



Afghanistan Power System Development Project

Central Asia-South Asia Electricity Transmission & Trade Project (CASA-1000)

Innovation in Floating Solar Power and Hybrid Technologies (India)

Nepal-India Electricity Transmission & Trade Project

Nepal Energy Infrastructure Sector Assessment

Nepal First Programmatic Energy Sector Development Policy Credit

Nepal Power Sector Reform and Sustainable Hydropower Development

North Eastern Region Power System Improvement (India)

Nepal Private Sector-Led Mini-Grid Energy Access Project

Solar Resource and Photovoltaic Potential of the Maldives

Vishnugad-Pipulkati Hydroelectric Project (India)



Blog series:  Energy in South Asia


What's New


WePOWER network sparks action for gender equality in Bhutan’s energy sector

June 30, 2020 - Small steps by one woman can lead to big institutional changes. Just ask Kinley Wangmo, a human resources manager with Bhutan Power Corporation and new member of the WePOWER network.
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Examining the Impact of COVID-19 in India Through Daily Electricity Consumption and Nighttime Light Intensity

June 23, 2020 - This paper shows that daily electricity consumption and evening light intensity during a national lockdown for the coronavirus can proxy for economic activity in India.
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Bangladesh receives $185 million World Bank financing for renewable energy

Aug. 29, 2019 - Bangladesh signed a $185 million agreement with the World Bank to add 310 MW renewable energy generation capacity for reliable, affordable electricity and cleaner air. The project will focus on utility-scale solar photovoltaic energy.
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Pakistan to strengthen regional connectivity with new investments through World Bank support

May 31, 2019 - The World Bank is committing $465 million through two projects to support higher education in Pakistan and expand sustainable electricity trade between Central Asia and South Asia.
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Pathways to Power: South Asia Region Baseline Assessment for Women Engineers in the Power Sector

Jan. 29, 2020 - This assessment was produced as part of a new regional network, WePOWER, that aims to help recruit, train, connect, and retain women working in the power sector throughout South Asia.
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Off-Grid Solar Market Trends Report 2020

Feb 18, 2020 - At least 22 million small farmers in South Asia are not connected to the power grid and are potential users of solar water pumps. Bangladesh and India are incentivizing grid-connected farmers to adopt solar water pumps to reduce demand on grids.
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The South Asia Women in Power Sector Professional Network - 2019 Progress Update

Nov 15, 2019 - More than 5,300 women participated in workshops, study tours, training events, student internships, and other activities in 2019 organized by the WePOWER network and its sponsors.
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Data Analytics for Advanced Metering Infrastructure: A Guidance Note for South Asian Utilities

Oct. 8, 2019 - South Asia's power industry is on the cusp of a transformation driven by technology, environmental awareness, and customer expectations.A World Bank–funded study developed guidance for deploying advanced metering infrastructure and analytics systems.
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Survey of International Experience in Advanced Metering Infrastructure and its Implementation

Sept. 23, 2019 - This report packages international know-how around the key steps South Asian utilities face in designing advanced metering infrastructure (AMI). Data analytics generated by AMI can lead to greater efficiency measures, policies, and regulations.
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Mirwais, Northwest Kabul Breshna Sub Station Manager. Photo: Graham Crouch / World Bank

Mini Grids for Half a Billion People: Market Outlook and Handbook for Decision Makers

June 25, 2019 - Mini grids have the potential to distribute power to 500 million people globally by 2030. Afghanistan, Myanmar, India, and Nepal currently have the most mini grids, according to the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program.
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Nepal Energy Infrastructure Sector Assessment

March 1, 2019 - Nepal needs a two-fold to four-fold increase in electricity investments to meet domestic demand and to realize its export potential.
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How Would Cross-Border Electricity Trade Stimulate Hydropower Development in South Asia?

July 10, 2018 - This research paper finds cross-border transmission interconnections and regional power trading would promote hydropower in South Asia. The region has more than 350 gigawatts of potential hydropower, but only 20 percent has been exploited so far.
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In the Dark: How Much do Power Distortions Cost South Asia?

Dec. 12, 2018 - Electricity demand is growing as South Asian economies expand. Inefficient generation, misallocated fuel, distribution losses, and inadequate pricing of emissions are limiting the power supply.
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South Asia Regional Trade Integration Program Completion Report

Oct. 24, 2018 - A platform developed in the Central Asia South Asia Transmission Project (CASA-1000) helps Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan sell surplus hydropower to Afghanistan and Pakistan. The South Asia Regional Trade Integration Program supported the project.
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Understanding and Assessing the Impact of Transmission and Distribution Projects on Electricity Access

September 2018 - Economic development in Northeastern India lags despite substantial estimated energy reserves and hydropower potential. The region has an underdeveloped power system, with limited access in rural areas and bottlenecks in the transmission network.
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Lighting the Way: Achievements, Opportunities, and Challenges in Bangladesh's Power Sector

Dec. 1, 2017 - The report surveys the challenges facing Bangladesh's power sector today and makes recommendations to help the country reach its goal of universal access to electricity by 2021.
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