NTPC inks power supply pact with Bangladesh
NTPC on Tuesday signed a long-term agreement to supply 250 mw to Bangladesh Power Development Board, making it the first Indian generation utility to ink a deal for exporting electricity to a neighbouring country.
NTPC entered into the deal through its wholly-owned trading arm NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Ltd. The deal, signed in New Delhi, marks a milestone in bilateral ties and takes a step further to India’s idea of creating a SAARC energy grid. Indian power is expected to start flowing into Bangladesh by July, 2013 – the target date for completing a $200 million transmission link between the two grids. NTPC would supply the power from the power ministry’s unallocated quota of electricity generated by the Central utility. The two sides are also discussing the possibility of Bangladesh buying another 250 mw from the Indian open market.
The power will flow through a 500-mw line between Baharampur in West Bengal’s Murshidabad district and Bhermara in Ishurdi-Khulna area of western Bangladesh. ToI had first reported on November 26, 2009, about the two sides working on such a pact during Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s December, 2009, visit to India.
The inking of the power purchase deal and establishment of the transmission link could eventually see Indian firms such as the Tata Group to revive plans of setting up power plants in Bangladesh, using gas form that country’s Bibiyana fields or coal and selling surplus electricity to New Delhi. The group had proposed to set up a power plant as part of its $3-billion investment plan that also included fertilizer and steel units.
A power link between India and Bangladesh will also fill up a gap in the proposed SAARC electricity grid. India has a power link with Bhutan, and is working on ramping up electricity imports to at least 5,000 mw by 2020. Simultaneously, it is also talking to Sri Lanka for an undersea link and Nepal for an overland interconnect that will allow exchange of 250-500 mw initially, up from 50 mw at present. India and Pakistan are also talking of a deal for 500 mw, but the blow-hot-blow cold political ties between the two nations have slowed down the pace of progress.