Inviting applications for the SAREP Grants Annual Program Statement (APS) – FY2024. For more information click Here.

Ongoing Programs

USAID’s energy programs in South Asia are a mix of bilateral (single country focused) and regional (multi-country focused) programs focusing on one or more of the four programmatic pillars of Asia EDGE. Through these programs, USAID is providing assistance in the form of Capacity Building, Credit Guarantees, Due-diligence, Feasibility assessment, Market Research, Monitoring and Evaluation, Financing, Implementation Advisory, Technology and Regulatory Pilots, Policies Advisory, and Project Development and Design. A brief about the programs is mentioned below.

Bilateral programs

1. Enabling Air Quality through better monitoring, EE and market measures

Air pollution is an ongoing concern impacting the quality of human health in Asia. In South Asia, reducing and maintaining fine particulate matter 2.5 (PM2.5) to below the World Health Organization’s prescribed limit could significantly impact life expectancy. USAID along with other organizations are supporting research on tactics to improve air quality in the energy sector. The purpose of this partnership seeks to reduce industrial air pollution at a low cost to both government and industry, and provide best practices for replicating this regulatory model and apply it to other types of emissions. The work in carried out in India is supporting design and development of policy toolkits to increase public participation in India’s environmental regulatory process by disclosing industrial performance through a five-star rating system. Another project supports design, implementation and monitoring of supply side interventions for mitigation of air pollution through a cap-and-trade scheme where performance is linked with rewards instead of the traditional use of command-and-control approaches to pollution regulation. Read More

2. Environment Health Safety (EHS+) Center
ehsThe EHS+ Center offers affordable, industry-relevant EHS training and technical assistance to reduce water and energy waste, decrease carbon emissions and toxic pollution, and serves as a high-quality partner to Indian and global businesses. The EHS+ Center in Pune, created in a partnership between ISC and SIIB, works with industry partners to reach the small and medium enterprises that constitute the supply chain manufacturing side of the industry. USAID’s partnership with EHS+ Center in India aims to provide factory managers with information and tools to improve environment, health and safety conditions for workers and surrounding communities. These trainings focus on increasing resource efficiency, enhancing gender equity and empowerment, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Read More

bess3. Greening the Grid (GTG)

Greening the Grid (GTG), is assisting the Government of India (GOI) in integrating large-scale, variable renewable energy (VRE) into the existing power grid. Critical to it is rigorous analytical support to identify grid stability issues, options for optimizing despatch, and sources of potential flexibility. USAID/India’s GTG project combines three components, which interact with each other

  • Power system planning reforms and targeted analysis for large RE parks and RE integration pilots implemented by U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Laboratories.
  • Renewable Integration and Sustainable Energy (RISE) initiative to implement innovation pilots, aimed at testing and evaluating building blocks to improve the integration of RE; and
  • Peer-to-peer exchanges between U.S.-India system operators (System Operator Partnership) and regulators (India Regulatory Partnership). Read More

4. Market Integration and Transformation for Energy Efficiency (MAITREE)

This program supports the uptake of cutting-edge technologies, innovative business models, and promotes end-user engagement for large-scale interventions to accelerate adoption of energy efficiency strategies and technologies. This program has 3 components.

  • Component 1 – Energy Efficiency in Buildings to support large-scale building energy efficiency efforts in partnership with public and private agencies.
  • Component 2 – Sustainable Cooling to support cooling market transformation through enabling policy framework, integrated design approach, innovative technologies, and end-user engagement
  • Component 3 – Training, Consumer Engagement, and Outreach focused on integrated design for energy efficient buildings and cooling systems along with efficiency in operations and management. Read More
5. NARUC partnership in Bangladesh
NARUC partnership in Bangladesh pegs on institutional strengthening to enhance the regulatory frameworks of Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) and creates an enabling environment for investment in the energy sector. The partnership focuses on energy efficiency, energy audits, tariff setting, dispute resolution and public communication.

6. USAID-NREL partnership in BangladeshSince 2011, the USAID-NREL Partnership has provided technical assistance to the Government of Bangladesh in support of promoting private sector investment in wind energy to meet growing energy demand. NREL’s assistance covers

Assessing Wind Energy Potential: NREL led an assessment with in-country partners to quantify the wind resources in Bangladesh. The project culminated in a publicly accessible Bangladesh wind data available through the Renewable Energy Data Explorer tool.

Identifying Private Sector Challenges: Identifying barriers to the nascent domestic wind industry and concrete feedback to improve the request for proposals (RFP) bidding process for wind power projects. In collaboration with the Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority, the partnership is developing a comprehensive one-stop service to guide wind developers through the necessary steps to develop and interconnect wind projects at the utility scale.

Grid Integration and Clean Energy Planning: The partnership is also providing additional in-country trainings and technical assistance to address renewable energy planning and integration challenges.

Wind Power Capacity Building activity: NREL– create a competitive wind power market in Bangladesh by enhancing private sector interest and investment. Read More

7. USAID-NREL partnership in India
Carishma Gokhale of NREL described their work in India on improving quality and safety of rooftop solar and storage and highlighted the scope for other South Asian countries to leverage this work and other tool developed by NREL. She also highlighted NREL’s work in Bangladesh on improving data and analysis for renewable energy development.

paced8. Partnership to Advance Clean Energy-Deployment (PACE-D 2.0 RE)
In January 2019, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)/India launched a two-year initiative “Partnership to Advance Clean Energy Deployment (PACE -D 2.0 RE)” in India. PACE-D 2.0 RE goal is to enhance the deployment of renewable energy technologies and thereby reduce the power purchase cost, increase the reliability of power supply, address energy security need of India and support Government of India in achieving the target of 175 GW by the year 2022. The program will focus on scaling up renewable energy utilization through three interventions.

  • strategic energy planning,
  • increasing the uptake of distributed generation,
  • Innovative clean energy procurement Read More

9. Smart Power for Advancing Reliability and Connectivity (SPARC)
Distribution sector reforms have been a key focus of the USAID India’s collaboration with the Ministry of Power (MOP), Government of India (GOI). From the successful Distribution Reform, Upgrade and Management (DRUM) program in 2004 to the Partnership to Advance Clean Energy-Deployment Technical Assistance (PACE-D TA) program which ended in 2018, USAID has partnered with the MOP on several successful initiatives in the power distribution sector. Building on its previous work, USAID launched the SPARC program in partnership with the MOP, GOI in 2018. SPARC is a three-year (September 2018-September 2021) initiative with the objective of supporting the transformation of operational and financial performance of electricity distribution utilities (DISCOMs).

  • Distribution sector investment planning
  • DISCOM operations improvement & modernization
  • Institutional strengthening, capacity building & outreach Read More
10. SURE program in Bangladesh
Under the Scaling Up Renewable Energy (SURE) program, USAID is supporting Bangladesh to identify challenges in the integration of variable renewable energy (RE), mechanisms for implementation of RE projects, and collaboration with NREL to promote advanced energy systems.

11. Urja Nepal
Following the completion of the five-year National Hydro Development Program (NHDP), USAID’s has launched a five-year, $18.7 million project to advance development goals in the country through investment in the energy sector. This program aims to support Nepal to not just adopt the prevailing power sector best practices of their neighbours, but to establish themselves as leaders in modern power generation and delivery by embracing advanced technologies and enabling a cleaner, nimbler, and more profitable grid. The four key objectives of Urja Nepal program – improve utility and sector performance, deploy advanced energy systems, increase private sector engagement, and institutionalize cross border electricity trading by focusing on three main areas

  • Power Sector Planning
  • Electric Vehicle (EV) Adoption
  • Energy Efficiency (EE)

usea12. USAID-USEA partnership
USEA is supporting USAID on a number of its bilateral and regional programs that include activities on Greening the Grid, SARI/EI, U.S.-India Gas Task Force

Regional programs

Since the 1990s, USAID has been at the forefront of enhancing regional energy cooperation in South Asia. In 2000, USAID launched the South Asia Regional Initiative for Energy (the current phase of the program is known as the South Asia Regional Initiatives for Energy Integration – SARI/EI). USAID’s regional programs focus on cross-border energy trade which emphasizes on harmonization of domestic policies and regulations, and the necessary infrastructure improvements to facilitate power exchange by working in coordination with other bodies such as South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), BIMSTEC and South Asia Forum for Infrastructure Regulation (SAFIR).

1. South Asia Regional Initiative for Energy Integration (SARI/EI)
The SARI/EI Phase IV aims is to advance regional energy integration in South Asia, covering eight countries of the region: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. The program aims to move South Asian countries towards increased regional energy security and focuses on Cross-Border Electricity Trade (CBET) and regional energy market development. The overarching objective of the SARI/EI program is to develop a common template for technical and commercial aspects of power exchange among the South Asian countries. Thus, the SARI/EI program acts as a catalyst for enabling systemic conditions for regional energy integration.


sage2. South Asia Group for Energy (SAGE)
SAGE is a consortium that consists of USAID, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and three of DOE’s National Laboratories: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). The consortium will work with energy leaders in South Asia to foster technical exchanges and analysis to keep their countries on the cutting edge of advanced energy technologies. The activity will undertake state-of-the-art technical analyses, modeling, and research on advanced technologies to create market opportunities for the private sector; equip national governments in South Asia with critical information and consultation to build their capacity to make strategic investment decisions; and enable and enhance access by South Asian stakeholders to relevant private-sector partners.
3. South Asia Regional Energy Hub (SAREH)USAID created the multimedia platform SAREH to share Asia EDGE’s results throughout South Asia; convene and coordinate various South Asian stakeholders; and enhance knowledge-sharing, research, and resources between governments and the private sector in South Asian countries and USAID’s Missions in the region. In partnership with the United States Energy Association, SAREH will provide a platform for the private sector through its knowledge-dissemination network to present innovations and technologies to a wide range of stakeholders in South Asia, as well as to facilitate engagement with policy-makers and regulators.

4. South Asia Regional Energy partnership (SAREP)SAREP will seek partnerships with the private sector proactively, to create an enabling environment characterized by sound policies, effective institutions, transparency, non-restrictive competition, and the reliable enforcement of contracts. SAREP will use a variety of tools to increase the flow of finance, provide technical assistance and business-development services, and improve the bankability of energy projects to enhance private-sector investments.

Collectively, these programs cover all the four pillars of Asia EDGE.