India plans to sell 500MW power to Pakistan

New Delhi: India plans to sell 500 megawatt (MW) of power to Pakistan. Officials of two countries are scheduled to meet next month to finalize the tariff and grid connectivity, The Telegraph, Calcutta reported.

Electricity trading with Pakistan is part of a larger plan of a South Asian transmission link, which will help countries in the sub-continent harness energy potential of the region. “A formal understanding has been reached between the two countries on sale of electricity. The finer points are being worked out. The grid connectivity across the border would help Islamabad tide itself over outages,” senior Indian Power Ministry officials said, according to report.

Officials said both sides were considering setting up transmission infrastructure in a joint ownership to wheel around 500MW electricity via Amritsar. They said as Lahore has complete transmission lines and grids and is near grid in Punjab, it will be economical to transfer power through Amritsar.

Tariff would be a crucial issue to be discussed during meeting scheduled for early December. “There is a political will among leaders of two nations to enhance trade ties and this would work in early solution of issues,” officials said. South Asian electricity trade is being seen as a major area of cooperation among countries that will bring prosperity to the sub-continent by providing power to deficit parts of the region.

“South Asia is a major hub of fast-growing economies having 25% of the world’s population. There is an ongoing shift in focus from agriculture to manufacturing. No South Asian country can meet its energy needs entirely from within its own domestic resources. We need to integrate entire region with a robust power grid,” Indian State Minister for Power, KC Venugopal said.

India will need about 250,000MW by 2017, a five-fold increase, to sustain its economic growth. A South Asian grid will give the region 100,000MW of power to trade and help India tap hydropower and natural gas reserves of its neighbours.

The grid model connecting Norway, Denmark, Sweden & Finland and another linking South Africa, Botswana & Zimbabwe were being studied. “Energy and electricity cooperation are non-traditional areas of trade relationship development. Bhutan has managed to balance its trade with India with large exports of hydroelectric power. Similar potential exists for Bangladesh & Nepal,” a study by Confederation of Indian Industry said.

An integration of electricity grids across South Asia will reduce power costs and enhance manufacturing competitiveness of all members. Nepal, Bhutan, Afghanistan & India have huge hydroelectric potential, which can be tapped for intra-regional power trade, study said.

While a transmission link with Bhutan is in place, there are plans to tweak existing line to enable imports up to 5,000MW into India by 2020. Indian firms are working on hydel projects of 10,000MW in Bhutan & 1,000MW in Nepal to be able to share power from these projects. New Delhi is setting up a link with Bangladesh. Plans are under way to set up transmission link to exchange up to 1,000MW with Sri Lanka.

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