Pak wants power from India to light up a part of Lahore

Power-starved Pakistan has indicated its willingness to hook up a portion of Lahore with the Indian side, enabling the capital of the Punjab province to draw electricity from the Indian grid.

Pakistan’s government made the proposal to an expert group representing the Indian government that visited the country earlier this week. The group returned to Delhi on Wednesday.

The proposal to island a part of Lahore from the Pakistani grid and hook up a direct connection with the integrated NEW (north-east-west-north eastern) grid in India is aimed at faciliating the transfer of 250-300 MW of power from the Indian side as a short-term fix for Pakistan’s debilitating power crisis.

Once inter-governmental formalities are completed, building a limited capacity transmission line between the two countries could be pushed through in about 12 months. There already exists a complete network of transmission lines and grids on the Pakistani side along the border with Punjab, and the nearest grid on the Indian side — at Patti in Tarn Taran district — is very close to the Lahore Ring, making grid interconnection feasible.

In the longer term, the plan is to have an asynchronous ‘buffer’ HVDC (high voltage direct current) back-to-back link that can be used to wheel about 500 MW from India to Pakistan, something that could take up to three years to build.

The buffer HVDC link would ensure that grid disturbances on either side are not passed across the border, and would obviate the necessity for islanding a portion of Pakistani territory from its national grid.

While the broad contours of the HVDC link proposal has been discussed by the two sides earlier, with the new government in place in Islamabad, there is a fresh sense of purpose. After its meeting with Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif in Lahore, the Indian delegation was rushed to Islamabad for an unscheduled meeting with the federal minister for water and power Khawaja Muhammad Asif on the instructions of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

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