India Electricity To Flow To Bangladesh In First South Asian Cross-Border Transmission Link
YASHODHARA DASGUPTA, Economic Times Bureau. IndiaTimes.com Oct 4, 2013
NEW DELHI: The first South Asian cross border transmission line, which has been built between India and Bangladesh, will become operational on Saturday. In a key step towards regional power sharing and cooperation, India will supply electricity to its neighboring country through South Asia's first-ever high voltage direct current (HVDC) interconnection between two countries.
The transmission line, which was financed partly with a $112 million Asian Development Bank (ADB) loan, will link India's eastern electrical grid to Bangladesh's western grid. Testing of the sub-station installations began in September. The HVDC interconnection allows better control over power flows and improved stability on the two grids.
"This groundbreaking link will help provide urgently needed power to Bangladesh. More importantly, it is a key milestone for South Asia as it looks to set up a regional energy market to make the best use of its diverse and unevenly distributed energy resources," said Juan Miranda, director general of ADB's South Asia Department.
The power will be supplied by NTPC, India's largest generating utility to the Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB), which supplies most of Bangladesh's electricity. The arrangement is part of a government-to-government contract with the power supplied to be increased in phases. There will be an increase of 250 MW in November and a further 250 MW increase by the end of the year. The project could eventually be scaled up to 1000 MW of power supply.
The contracts will allow Bangladesh to buy power from India at a lower rate than that of their domestic retail plants. The cross-border trading will also enable the two countries to trade electricity based on variations in their seasonal and weekly demand.
According to ADB, only about half the population in Bangladesh has access to electricity. In addition, there are regular power outages lasting up to five hours a day in major cities.
"Expanding supply will help businesses and improve the delivery of essential services like education and healthcare. Buying electricity from India will also help gas-reliant Bangladesh diversify its energy sources and the link will later allow it to tap into energy resources from other parts of the region," said an ADB statement.
More cross-border energy links are currently being considered in South Asia, including on Bangladesh's eastern borders. Such links, which already have support from South Asian governments, are expected to promote greater trade and cooperation within the region.
Valve hall of the 500MW back-to-back HVDC system.
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