New Report Shines Light on Challenges of Providing Clean, Affordable Electricity in Asia

May 11, 2007, 01:00 ET from World Resources Institute

    NEW YORK, May 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The governments of India,
 Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines must improve transparency and
 public participation in their electricity sectors to provide citizens with
 affordable, reliable and clean energy, concludes a new report.
     Empowering People: A Governance Analysis of Electricity examines the
 decision-making processes leading to the design of and investment in
 electricity infrastructure in Southeast Asia. More than $6.5 trillion of
 investment is needed in the sector in developing countries by 2030. But
 there are questions about how well efforts to privatize electricity
 services have supported public interests and sustainable development
 targets such as the Millennium Development Goals.
     "More open planning and regulatory processes can help manage trade
 offs, and allow for more investment in clean energy at affordable prices,"
 said Smita Nakhooda of the World Resources Institute, one of the authors of
 the report.
     The report is part of the Electricity Governance Initiative, a global
 partnership of non-governmental organizations engaged in national energy
 policy debates. The data analyzed in the report was collected by a
 partnership of 20 civil society organizations in the four countries.
     Shantanu Dixit of Prayas Energy Group, and a co-author of the report,
 noted, "The energy sector policies of today have focused on financial
 viability and economic growth at the cost of neglecting institutions,
 governance, equity and sustainability. Unless this major shortcoming is
 addressed by promoting transparency, accountability and public
 participation in the policy making and regulation, crisis in the
 electricity sector can not be resolved."
     The report was released today by the World Resources Institute at a
 United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development side meeting,
 featuring Mr. Hoetomo, Indonesia's Deputy Minister of Environmental
 Compliance. Indonesia is pursuing a new "crash program" to develop 10,000
 MW of power by 2010. As new companies enter the playing field, good
 governance will be essential to prevent corruption, and ensure that viable
 projects result.
     The Electricity Governance Initiative (EGI) is a collaboration of civil
 society, policy-makers, regulators, and other electricity sector actors to
 promote the open, transparent, and accountable decision-making processes
 that are necessary to reach a socially and environmentally sustainable
 energy future. The EGI is a joint undertaking of the World Resources
 Institute and Prayas Energy Group (India). The National Institute of Public
 Finance and Policy (India) was centrally involved in developing the EGI
 indicator toolkit and implementing the assessments in Asia. EGI is a
 partnership for sustainable development registered with the UN Commission
 on Sustainable Development.
     Prayas is a registered charitable trust based in Pune, India. Its
 activities cover four substantive areas: health, energy, learning and
 parenthood, and resources and livelihoods. Prayas engages in policy
 analysis and advocacy in the electricity sector and capability-building of
 institutions in civil society.

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