India is working to set up an energy efficient power transmission line (HVDC) with Nepal and Bhutan as part of its energy security plans,External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said on Thursday.
India also hopes to have power transmission connectivity with ASEAN and SAARC countries,including Pakistan,Afghanistan and Myanmar,he said while addressing the World Energy Policy Summit 2013 here.
“We are also working on the India-Nepal HVDC link which will perhaps begin with providing power to Nepal in order ultimately to be able to take power (import) from Nepal.
Again,same sort of thing is what we hope we will be able to do with Bhutan. Nepal and Bhutan will become a major source of supply of power to India,” he said.
“Of course,we could have a grid that goes into ASEAN. We have road connectivity with ASEAN,but we would also have hopefully power connectivity with ASEAN,Myanmar,Bangladesh,India,Nepal and into Pakistan and perhaps into Afghanistan as well,” Khurshid said.
He,however,did not elaborate on the transmission connectivity plans to ASEAN nations.
India has been working for the last few years to put in place a multilateral SAARC Market for Electricity (SAME) and has plans to set up a larger SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) transmission grid.
In October,Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had dedicated to the nation the 71-km Baharampur-Bheramara HVDC transmission link,which connected electricity grids of India and Bangladesh.
The link is designed to facilitate cross-border electricity transfer of up to 500 MW from India to Bangladesh.
As far as Bhutan is concerned,India’s transmission link with that country is already in place.
The government has plans to augment the existing line to import upto 5,000 MW power from Bhutan by 2020 through HVDC (high voltage direct current) transmission line.
On the other hand,Nepal currently imports about 150 MW power from India. Last year Power Grid Corporation of India (PGCIL) had completed a 40 MW transmission line to the Himalayan nation. Besides,many Indian companies have plans to set up power plants in Nepal to tap its hydro-power generation potential.
In HVDC technology,less electricity is lost in transmission than with conventional AC technology. It also requires fewer transmission lines,which means less land has to be cleared.
Noting that removing energy poverty is critical for the country,Khurshid said the quality of electricity infrastructure in Indian villages needs to be improved.
“I go to many villages and I find that even by looking at it,it does not look like the infrastructure that should be in place in our times with the kind of expertise that is available in India,” he said,adding providing uninterrupted power to the villages is still a challenge.
He,however,lauded the efforts to connect each and every village of the country under Rajiv Gandhi Gramin Vidyutikaran Yojna and said that about 97 per cent of the villages and about 75 per cent households now have access to electricity.
Khurshid said setting up infrastructure for receiving LNG (liquefied natural gas) was also a major challenge.
Moreover,India is increasing its electricity generation from renewable energy sources like solar and wind and could use it to replace the traditional sources to an extent,he said.
The country has plans to generate about 30,000 MW in next 5 years from renewable energy sources. Of this,15,000 MW will be wind energy and 10,000 MW solar energy,he added.