International Energy Initiative,
Asian Regional Energy Initiative,
80-B Spencer Road, 2nd Cross, Fraser Town,
Bangalore 560 005,

+91 80 2555 3375

+91 80 2555 3375



The Asian Regional Energy Initiative of the IEI

Environmental Reform in the Power Sector in Asia:
Reform of the electricity sector has been undertaken in recent years for several reasons; in Asian countries it has been chiefly because of the surging need for electricity, the inability to meet this need due to capital constraints, and the consequent need for funding.  Environmental preservation was not at the forefront.  But power sector reform and the attendant legislative and structural changes have also provided other opportunities; these include the strengthening of environmental policies.

In this paper we have looked at the environmental policies pertaining to the electricity sector in a sample of Asian countries -- China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand.  The focus is on China and India, as these account for 68% of the electricity generated in developing Asia.  Beginning with the impacts of the power sector on the environment, we have discussed national environmental policies pertaining to this sector.  We have then considered the changes that have been/are being introduced, with respect to general direction and organisational structure, as well as specific environmental laws and government orders affecting standards and their enforcement.  A comparison between the prevailing norms in different countries has been made, and, to the extent that evidence has been documented, the actual implementation of these policies. 

Challenges to the implementation of environmental policies have been identified.  In particular, conflicts arise when the need for increasing the generation of electricity -- for household energy services among largely un-served populations and for productive purposes -- is juxtaposed with the impacts resulting from increased generation.  Based on our analyses, we have elicited factors that would facilitate the implementation of environmental policy.  Among these are: priorities in the national agenda, technical, financial and institutional provisions, integrated planning, economic pricing, timely monitoring, and regional/international commitment.  Effective use of these could enable countries to proceed toward meeting the need for energy services, while preserving the environment.