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Strategic Significance Of India-Bangladesh Energy Transmission Hall – OpEd

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Bangladesh will possible permit India to arrange a 116-200 kilometer energy transmission hall connecting India’s northeastern states, often known as the seven sisters. In return, India could permit Bangladesh to import energy from Nepal and Bhutan utilizing its transmission line, which has been beneath negotiation for years.

Technical information from the Energy Grid Firm of Bangladesh (PGCB) signifies that the capability of the Bharamara-Baharampur transmission line is predicted to extend from 2,400 MW to three,200 MW quickly. However Bangladesh imports 900-940 MW of electrical energy from India’s Baharampur to Bheramara. Contemplating the unutilized 2,040 MW grid line between Bangladesh and India, the Bangladesh Energy Improvement Board (BPDB) proposed finalizing the prevailing grid to provide imported electrical energy from the GUKUL venture in Nepal final yr.

In response, Indian NVVN acknowledged that an settlement for added energy provide to Bangladesh utilizing the Indian grid line may solely be signed after finalizing the brand new transmission hall between the 2 nations. In line with India’s Central Electrical energy Regulatory Fee, the Indian authority could make cross-border commerce the place India is concerned. There’s a particular provision of a tripartite settlement that enables the Indian authority to signal the framework of bilateral agreements between the federal government of India and the governments of the respective neighboring nations. In different phrases, Bangladesh and Nepal should signal bilateral agreements for cross-border electrical energy commerce with India.

Bangladesh permitted the twenty first Joint Steering Committee’s assembly with India on energy sector cooperation. On the assembly, it was agreed {that a} tripartite energy buy settlement (PPA) could be concluded quickly between Nepal, India, and Bangladesh to facilitate the switch of 500MW of cross-border electrical energy from Nepal’s 900MW Higher Karnali hydropower venture. The Joint Steering Committee additionally mentioned implementing a hydropower venture in Bhutan via a tripartite funding between Bangladesh, Bhutan, and India. Nepal has an estimated hydropower potential of round 80,000MW, however the nation can solely produce round 2,000MW. Since 2019, Nepal has been exporting energy to India at six Indian rupees per unit. Bangladesh imports 1,160MW of energy from India via the Baharampur-Bheramara and Tripura-Cumilla cross-border grid traces. Bangladesh goals to extend the share of imported electrical energy in its vitality combine as much as 40% by 2041 when the overall era capability will attain 60,000MW. 

The principle cause behind establishing the ability transmission traces

The northeastern area is India’s principal hub for rising its renewable vitality capability. India must faucet the unexplored pure assets of its Northeast. This area has a possible of 33,100 MW of hydropower. Nonetheless, it’s untapped due to the low electrical energy demand, whereas the absence of an influence grid hinders the provision of extra electrical energy to its western components. Electrical energy transmission from northeastern India to western components of India requires a hall via Bangladesh attributable to geo-political boundaries.

India and Bangladesh wish to considerably improve their share of renewable vitality within the upcoming years. The Indian authorities has set an bold plan to generate 500GW from non-fossil energy-based sources by 2030, assembly 50 % of vitality necessities from renewables. Likewise, Bangladesh needs to extend the share of renewable vitality within the nation’s energy combine to round 40 % by 2050 from lower than three % now.

Bangladesh has the potential to supply a number of electrical energy corridors for transmission. Arunachal Pradesh alone has a 50,000 MW of hydroelectricity potential. In line with Indian North Japanese Electrical Energy Cooperation, the Indian North Japanese Area has the potential of about 58,971 MW of energy, virtually 40 % of India’s whole hydropower potential. India plans to discover all hydropower potentials in Arunachal Pradesh and different northeastern states. India has a complete potential of 145,320 MW hydropower, however solely 45,399.22 MW of the quantum was being tapped. However India must spend an enormous sum of money to transmit hydropower from India’s northeastern to northwestern area. However the geographical barrier has constrained India from untapping its potential. Eighteen initiatives above the capability of 25 MW had been now beneath building throughout Northeast in 2019.

That is why India needs to construct energy transmission traces for utilizing the ability hall of Bangladesh to cut back the fee. In 2021, Bangladesh confirmed curiosity within the energy hall and anticipated to get 20 to 25 % of the hydropower to be transmitted via the high-voltage gridline passing via its territory. The transmission line with the capability of 6,000MW in Bangladesh land perhaps 100km in size whether it is inbuilt Boropukuria and 200km whether it is put in in Jamalpur, whereas a substation could be inbuilt every route. Two potential routes of the transmission line are — from Asam’s Bonga via Baropukuria (Dinajpur) or Jamalpur to Bihar’s Punia and from Asam’s Silchar by way of Meghna Ghat-Bheramara to West Bengal. There could be such high-capacity interconnectors in Tripura-Comilla, Bongaigaon (Assam)-Jamalpur/Dinajpur-Purnea (Bihar), Silchar (Assam), and Fenchuganj.

A win-win for each

This deal will probably be fruitful provided that India lastly permits an influence hall to Bangladesh to import electrical energy from Nepal. Together with getting the hall, Bangladesh wants to make sure that it will get a fair proportion of electrical energy from India in return of creating these transmission traces. As a result of,India can obtain its untapped alternatives of hydropower from the northeastern area by establishing energy transmission traces over Bangladesh, each Bangladesh and India ought to come ahead to boost their vitality safety based mostly on reciprocity and improve South Asian regional cooperation.

 Safowan Hossain Khan is a researcher specializing in South Asian Affairs with a specific concentrate on the India-Bangladesh relations. He’s a Senior Analysis Fellow of College of London

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