Bangladesh opts to sell surplus power to neighbours

Originally posted in The Business Standard on 22 April 2022

File Photo: Mumit M/TBS

Along with importing electricity from India, Bangladesh is now planning to enter into the cross-border exchange of electricity infrastructure through the Indian Energy Exchange (IEX) to export its surplus power.

The move will help both countries, especially Bangladesh to ensure power supply security as it will empower the country to exchange – buying and selling – its resources when capacity remains unused because of low demand in winter.

Senior government officials of both the countries are currently working on the details of the plan, reports Times of India.

Confirming the matter, Md Habibur Rahman, secretary of Power Division at the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources, said the government has sent a proposal to the Indian Energy Exchange in this regard.

“At present, we are importing electricity from India on a contract basis where we are only entitled to buy power, not to sell. But, now we are also planning to sell our surplus electricity during winter when our demand falls,” he said.

“The matter is now under process,” Habibur added.

As part of the power sector master plans, Bangladesh started cross-border energy trade with neighbouring India in 2013 with only 500 megawatts of electricity import.

Over the years, electricity import from India has climbed up to 1,160MW which is around 10% of Bangladesh’s total power consumption.

Every year, Bangladesh pays around Tk5,000 crore to India for importing electricity through cross-border transmission lines.

Nepal, Bhutan, and other neighbouring countries buy and sell electricity across borders with India through the Indian Energy Exchange.

Bangladesh has been concerned with its surplus power during winter, which has resulted in huge operational losses to the Bangladesh Power Development Board.

The amount of unused power in winter reaches a maximum of 60% of the total grid power generation capacity, which is 22,348MW.

Thus, the electricity exchange among neighbouring countries could be a boon for Bangladesh, say BPDB officials.