By Nitya Pandit
From being known for its power cuts to having a power surplus, India has come a long way. For the past few years, it has been undertaking heavy investments in infrastructure, especially on the supply of raw materials, like coal, that has fuelled an increased output for many power companies. According to the Ministry of Power, India, for the very first time, has become a net exporter of electricity to Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar. This has been credited to the cross-border transmission lines which India has with her neighbouring countries.
Cross-border transmission lines
An addition to India’s export revenue will come from the Katiya-Kusaha and Raxual-Parwanipur cross-border transmission lines, which were completed last month. One of the factors that boosted India’s export of power was its first ever cross-border interconnection, back in September 2013, between Baharampur in India and Bheramara in Bangladesh. Furthermore, commissioning of the second cross-border Interconnection between Surjyamaninagar (Tripura) in India and South Comilla in Bangladesh also aided India’s electricity surplus.
Is India really producing a power surplus?
Mathematically, the surplus or deficit is determined by finding the difference between the demand for power and availability. Interestingly, the existent power cut crisis contradicts the fact that there might be a power surplus. SD Dubey, Chairman of Central Electricity Authority, reasoned that “State distribution companies are unable to buy electricity due to poor financial health. There is unused power lying in the grid.” Transmission and distribution constraints add to the list of reasons for the power cuts.
In addition, the surplus doesn’t exist throughout India. Even as the southern and western regions expect surplus rates of 3.3% and 6.9%, respectively, the northern, eastern and north-eastern regions will possibly experience an energy shortage of 2 to 10%.
What’s in store for the future?
The Load Generation and Balance Report (2016-17) of the Central Electricity Authority has stated that India will probably see a surplus of 1.1% in the 2016-17 period. Also, considering the introduction of the Katiya-Kusaha and Raxual-Parwanipur cross-border transmission lines, the country’s export of power may rise by approximately 145 MW in the near future.
In conclusion, it can be noted that India will not only benefit strategically and gain diplomatic advantages by selling electricity but also gain opportunities in different regions. However, despite India’s climb in the list of power exporters, it should not be forgotten that there is still a majority of villages and people who still live in darkness.
Featured Image Credits: airmechindia
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