S Asia grid plan gets a leg up as Bangladesh plans power buys

In a boost to India’s strategic initiative for putting in place a SAARC electricity grid, Bangladesh has come up with a plan to jointly develop power projects in north-east India, with the aim of wheeling back power to meet its own demand.
Dhaka is also keen to import electricity from Bhutan and Nepal to import using Indian territory and grid infrastructure, which could set the stage for a multilateral SAARC Market for Electricity (SAME) being envisaged on the lines of the Nord Pool in the Scandinavian countries and the West African Power Pool.

Over and above 250 mega watts of power promised by India, Bangladesh, at the fourth Joint Steering Committee (JSC) on power cooperation held here on February 28, has expressed its interest to procure an additional 250 MW power directly from the Indian power market through the competitive bidding process, for which the Bangladeshi side has already sent a draft tender notice to the Indian power ministry.

The development on Bangladesh comes on the heels of Nepal’s decision, conveyed late last year, to substantially ramp up power buys from India. For the additional purchases, the Himalayan nation plans to tap the short-term electricity market window existing in India, including the two operational power exchanges. On the larger SAARC grid plan, while a transmission link with Bhutan is already in place, there are plans to tweak the existing line to enable up to 5,000 MW of electricity imports into India by 2020. With Nepal, a proposal aimed at increasing power sharing through stronger transmission links is already being implemented while with Sri Lanka, plans are under way for setting up a $450-million undersea power transmission link.

At the meeting earlier this week, the Bangladesh side said it has recently sent a list of jointly implementable possible hydro power projects in the north eastern states of India, especially Arunachal Pradesh. The Indian side informed that this list has been sent to the concerned ministries and they would revert shortly, officials involved in the exercise said.

The Bangladesh side also reiterated its request for 100MW electricity from the first phase of the Pallatana power project in Tripura and its interest in joint venture participation in the second phase of the Pallatana project. The process of grid interconnection with Bangladesh is expected to be firmed up by July 2013.

Both countries are already establishing a joint venture company with participation of BPDB and NTPC for establishment of a Coal Based Power Plant (at Khulna). The next meeting of the next Joint Working Group will be held in Dhaka in August-September 2012.
Source: Indian Express

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