Hydropower & South Asia

Published: December 18, 2019

South Asia which houses 24% of the global population is one of the most underdeveloped regions of the world. Mutual cooperation is linked with development of the region and for the optimal utilisation of natural resources. The global average of per capital consumption of power is 2700 kWh, however with less than 700 kWh per capita annual consumption in this region, almost all South Asian countries struggle to provide reliable electricity to its people. The role of hydropower is significant in creating a South Asian Regional electricity market. India, Nepal and Bhutan are endowed with hydropower potential but hardly 17% of it has been harnessed so far.

Initiatives by India

With the aim to enhance scope of cooperation in the field of energy, here’s a list of initiatives been taken by the Government.

India & Bhutan
Tala-Delhi transmission system and Tala hydropower project (1,020 MW) commissioned in 2006-07
Dagachhu (126 MW) JV with Tata Power commissioned in March 2015
Mangdechhu project (720 MW) commissioned in 2019
Kholongchhu project (600 MW) JV with SJVN is under construction.
Punakha (180 MW) JV with SJVN, Wangchu (570 MW) JV with SJVN, and Chamkharchhu-I (770 MW) JV with NHPC

India & Bangladesh
The First 500 MW high-voltage direct-current (HVDC) link at Bheramara (Bangladesh) with interconnection at Behrampur (West Bengal) was commissioned in October 2013, in a record time of less than three years,
Second 500 MW HVDC at Bheramara was commissioned in 2016.
Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company (NTPC-BPDB) JV is setting up 1,320 MW project at Rampal (Khulna), Bangladesh, commissioning June 2021.
Bangladesh has finalised the draft agreement on PPA with Upper Karnali Project in Nepal for supply of 500 MW. The 1,200 MW of current power supply from India to Bangladesh will rise to over 2,500 MW by December 2021.

India-Nepal
Two large hydro projects of 900 MW each (Arun-III and Upper Karnali) have been awarded to Indian developers SJVN & GMR, respectively. They have started construction which will enhance cross-border trade by 1,500 MW.
Sri Lanka has also shown interest in cross-border transmission interconnection, and a joint technical team has been assigned the role to evaluate options and preparing a project report.

India-Myanmar
An interconnection between India and Myanmar has been established from Moreh (Manipur) to Tamu (Myanmar), and about 3 MW is being supplied, while future requirements of cross-border interconnections are being studied.

In 2011, The South Asia Champion Group was conceived and initiated by the World Bank. It emerged as a result of the realisation that South Asia suffered a lack of mutual cooperation and there was a need for policy advocacy at various levels to focus on regional integration in various fields.

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