South Asia Sub-Regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Meeting on the Proposed Transmission Utility Forum (TUF) and Sub Regional Power Generation and Transmission Master Plan

Welcome remarks by ADB Sri Lanka Resident Mission Country Director Rita O'Sullivan on 16 October 2012 in Kandy, Sri Lanka

Good Morning, Ladies and Gentlemen:

Welcome to Kandy & Sri Lanka.

Energy in South Asia is becoming the most important discussion topic as the region gears for the future demand of energy. ADB is forecasting an unparalleled economic growth in South Asia region during the next decade and as a result, energy demand is projected to rise exponentially.

ADB in Sri Lanka has throughout supported the government on its efforts to provide a better living standard for its people and favorable infrastructure for industries through uninterrupted grid connected electricity. ADB is continuously supporting the development of renewable energy generation through various initiatives. ADB is currently involved with three projects amounting to US$ 290 million which focuses on strengthening of transmission and distribution network and facilitating of renewable energy development. A New loan of US$ 130 million has been approved recently and is expected to start implementation by the end of year. This project mainly focuses transmission system strengthening. This project also developing solar energy generation in Sri Lanka through public private partnership with a 1 MW rooftop pilot project.

Energy supply in Sri Lanka and the region remains challenging and requires technological innovation and regional cooperation to meet these future requirements. Therefore it is both an exciting and a challenging time ahead for you the energy experts in the region to formulate and implement dynamic and innovative policies.

Regional seminars, workshops and forums enhance regional cooperation needed to meet these challenges and play a vital role in sharing best practices and technological advancements and raising everyone’s capacity. The potential for finding solid solutions to meet future challenges is immense through these workshops and I believe this forum in Kandy will be no exception.

Regional energy trade is a key focus for finding alternatives to future energy challenges. This is the correct time for all countries in the region to get together and introduce favorable policies and promote cross border energy trade. Preparation of technical standards, specifications and regulations requires detailed attention and this forum is the perfect platform to undertake the required discussion. This dialogue is complex and needs continual involvement. ADB through its South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation is ready to provide the necessary assistance to make this happen.

ADB’s Strategy 2020 focuses on three development agendas. Inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. This forum therefore supports ADB strategy and creates favorable approaches for the economic growth of the region.

Many countries in the region face the challenges of energy shortage as the countries are gearing for higher economic growth. There are lessons to be learnt from experiences of other countries and those lessons need to be successfully implemented for the betterment of the region. Your active involvement in this forum is of utmost importance to find good solutions. I trust that you will guide us to meet the future energy challenges successfully and play the vital role that is required of you to take the region towards sustainable growth. I wish you well in all your endeavors. Enjoy your stay in this beautiful city of Kandy.

Thank you!