India Strengthens its Position as an Electricity Exporter

Cross-border power trade can be a huge opportunity for Indian solar developers


India has gradually strengthened its position as an electricity exporting nation. India is now exporting power to Bangladesh, Nepal, and Myanmar.

Replying to a question in Lok Sabha, the minister for Power, R.K. Singh, stated, “India is currently supplying around 660 MW power to Bangladesh and it would increase by 840 MW after completion of additional transmission links.”

Singh also added, “India is currently supplying around 490 MW power to Nepal and it would further increase by 300 – 400 MW with the operation of 132 kV D/c Dhalkebar – Muzzafarpur line at 400 kV. India is also supplying about 2 – 3 MW of power from Manipur to Myanmar through 11 kV transmission line from Moreh in Manipur to Tomu town in Myanmar.”

“As of June 30, 2018, the installed generation capacity of India is about 344 GW which is more than sufficient to meet the peak demand of around 170 GW occurred during the current year 2018-19 (up to June 2018). As the installed capacity of power plants in the country is more than the demand, there are possibilities of exporting power to neighboring countries,” he further said.

This reversal of position from a net importer of electricity to a net exporter has taken place in the last two years.

Per Central Electricity Authority, the first time India turned around from a net importer of electricity to net exporter of electricity was in the financial year (FY) 2016-17 (April to February 2017). India exported around 5,798 million units (MUs) to Nepal, Bangladesh, and Myanmar which was 213 MUs more than the import of around 5,585 MUs from Bhutan.

In March 2017, India was exporting around 190 MW power to Nepal, and this has increased to 490 MW now. During the same time, India was exporting around 600 MW power to Bangladesh, which has now increased to 660 MW.

Solar has been one of the largest contributors to new power capacity addition in India. This cross-border trade in power can be a huge opportunity for Indian solar developers and implementing agencies. There will be no dearth of off-takers for cheap solar power if the current solar tariffs in India are to go by.

These countries do not have the resources to fund massive power projects, but they are all developing countries with budding economies. All developing economies have an increasing demand of power, and India can utilize that demand to fuel its own power sector.