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NTPC to Start Supplying Power to Bangladesh from September

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 NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam (NVVN), the state-run generation utility NTPC’s power trading arm, is expected to switch on electricity supply to Bangladesh from September, energizing bilateral economic ties. Bangladesh energy ministry officials on Wednesday handed over documents guaranteeing payment for the power to be purchased to NVVN chief executive N K Sharma in Dhaka. This paves the way for beginning of power trading between the two countries.

The two countries have a deal in place, initiated during Bangladeshi PM Sheikh Hasina’s January 2010 visit to Delhi, for trading of 250 mw. NVVN would supply leftover power from the Central pool after meeting domestic demand. The pool is made up of power from Central generation units that the government does not allot to any state and uses to meet emergency demand. Bangladesh would pay according to the generation of NTPC’s power plant from which electricity is supplied at a given time to Bangladesh. Generation plants have varying costs according to their vintage and fuel.

The link with Bangladesh brings closer to reality the proposed Saarc energy grid — first espoused by then power minister Sushilkumar Shinde at the South Asia Energy Dialogue in 2007. Power production varies in different regions in different seasons when some areas are surplus. Interconnectivity is expected to bridge those gaps.

The Indian grid is already linked with Bhutan through which India imports power from hydel projects from that country that are partly funded by New Delhi. The eastern grid is also linked to Nepal to which around 50 mw is supplied. Pakistan, which is witnessing acute shortage, too has proposed an interlink for sourcing some 500 mw from India. A subsea link with Sri Lanka, however, is gathering dust due to lack of interest from Colombo.

Power to Bangladesh would be supplied through a link laid by state-run PowerGrid, connecting India’s eastern grid and Bangladesh’s western grid. The two grids would be bridged between Baharampur in West Bengal and Bheramara in Bangladesh. PowerGrid has completed the upgrade (loop-in-loop-out) of the existing Farakka-Jeerat line. A three-km stretch of the interlink between the two countries remains to be wired and is expected to be ready on time for power to flow. The interlink would have the capacity to handle a flow of 500 mw.

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