The first-ever South Asia Clean Energy Forum (SACEF) took place in New Delhi, India, from May 2-4, 2023. The event, centered around the theme “Catalyzing Partnership for Clean Energy Transition,” was organized by USAID through its flagship South Asia Regional Energy Partnership (SAREP) and the South Asia Regional Energy Hub (SAREH).
SACEF 2023 brought together key players in South Asia’s clean energy sector to address crucial topics such as green hydrogen, e-mobility advancements, cross-border energy trade, and more. The event provided a platform for forging partnerships and promoting collaboration on these important issues. This event comprised of as many as 16 sessions across 3 days with speakers as well as participants from across the globe. More than 60+ speakers attended the event with 400+ participants at the event.
The forum was preceded by a Partners’ Day on May 2, featuring sessions on various topics led by partners of USAID’s energy initiatives. Topics ranged from “Solutions Offered by USAID and U.S. Department of Energy National Labs through SAGE 2.0” to “Decentralized Renewable Energy for Rural Livelihoods and Women Empowerment.”
The main forum commenced on May 3 with an opening session featuring speeches from Veena Reddy, USAID Mission Director to India; Patricia A. Lacina, Chargé d’Affaires; John Smith-Sreen, Director, Indo-Pacific Office, USAID; Suman K Bery, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog; Rajnath Ram, Adviser (Energy) NITI Aayog; and Dr. Ajay Mathur, Director General, International Solar Alliance.
The Phase II of the South Asia Group for Energy (SAGE II) was unveiled during the forum’s inaugural session. Dylan Jones, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, was joined by David Palchak from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Meredydd Evans from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) to celebrate the launch of this significant initiative.
Over the course of the two-day event, various sessions witnessed active participation from public and private sector energy stakeholders from all SAREP countries, including Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Maldives, and Sri Lanka.
At the closing session on May 4, John Smith-Sreen, Director, Indo-Pacific Office, USAID, declared SACEF 2023 a success and expressed optimism for future annual conferences to be hosted by other SAREP countries, thereby ensuring greater participation from various nations.
Distinguished speakers at the closing session, such as Dinesh Dayanand Jagdale, Joint Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Govt. of India; Arjun Kumar Gautam, CEO, Hydroelectricity Investment and Development Company Limited (HIDCL), Nepal; Dr. Thusitha Sugathapala, Senior Technical Expert, Climate Change & Sustainable Development – Slycan Trust, University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka; Dasho Chhewang Rinzin, MD, Druk Green Power Corporation (DGPC), Bhutan; Mohammed Rasheed, Chairperson, FENAKA Corporation Limited; and Shayan Shafi, Senior Energy Advisor, USAID Bangladesh, shared insights gained from this year’s forum and expressed their expectations for future editions of SACEF.
At the concluding session, speakers reflected on and concluded the key accomplishments and insights gained during the event. They acknowledged the fostering of a spirit of regional cooperation, emphasizing the importance of collaboration and knowledge-sharing in overcoming shared challenges and accelerating the clean energy transition. They also discussed the identification of innovative financing mechanisms and investment opportunities that can drive the development and deployment of clean energy solutions across the region.
Furthermore, speakers explored the significance of technology and capacity building in enhancing energy efficiency, renewable energy deployment, and energy access. They emphasized the need for inclusive policies and frameworks that address the social, economic, and environmental aspects of clean energy development, ensuring a just and equitable transition for all. Lastly, they highlighted the importance of training and skill development in the clean energy workforce, recognizing its crucial role in scaling up the deployment of clean energy sources in the region.
John Smith-Sreen officially brought the event to a close, congratulating and expressing gratitude to all attendees for their active participation. Participants conveyed their interest in attending SACEF 2024.
More information on SACEF can be found on the SACEF section on the website here.