India in talks with Southeast Asia nations for cross-border RE trade

India is currently supplying about 4,423 mega watt (MW) energy to other countries like Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Myanmar

Cross-border RE Trade

New Delhi: Indian government is in talks with various Southeast Asian nations for cross-border trade of renewable energy (RE). Singapore and Thailand are among the countries with which talks are in advance stages. The officials are discussing grid linkages either under the sea and on land and feasibility for the same.

Officials of the power ministry said India is currently supplying about 4,423 mega watt (MW) energy to other countries like Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Myanmar. “Now we are also looking into the expanding the power transmission network to other west Asian countries including UAE,” said an official, adding that trade of cross-border electricity would go up manifold of the talks with Southeast Asian countries becomes a reality soon.

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It was reliably learnt that Indian power ministry officials are holding separate and joint discussions with countries of Southeast Asia including, Singapore, Malaysia, Myanmar, Indonesia and Thailand, at the ongoing G20 Clean Energy Ministerial meeting in Goa. “We are in an advanced discussions with Singapore for signing a deal on laying down a direct under-sea interconnection for trade in renewable power,” an official in the ministry of power.

The official claimed that several rounds of discussion have already taken place. “Among other things, talks are happening on establishing regional power grid interconnections. Setting up grid linkage with Myanmar will take four years,” he added.

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As proposed, India is set to achieve the RE capacity of 500 giga watt (GW) by 2030, as part of its long-drawn plan of curbing carbon emission. Analysts believe the upcoming arrangement with Southeast Asian countries reflects India’s growing diplomatic ties in the region, and signals its intent to be a large producer of renewable energy, not only for itself, but for the world as well. India currently has a renewable energy capacity of 177 GW.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB), in consultation with the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) and Central Transmission Utility (CTU), has already prepared a detailed project report (DPR). The government has also engaged French multinational electric utility company EDF to prepare a detailed regulatory framework addressing issues like pricing. The energy company is likely to submit the report by year-end.

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Meanwhile, the CEA has also formed joint consultative committee with officials from state-run transmission company Power Grid Corp of India (PowerGrid) to assess the infrastructure required and generate an estimate for the investment. “It demonstrates the growing capabilities of the country in the renewable energy sector, and offers potential for greater investments in the sector,” said Vikram V, vice-president and sector head, corporate ratings, ICRA.

The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), as a group, is world’s fourth-largest energy consumer. Its energy transition will be vital for the world to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Its renewable energy market is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 7.4% over the next five years.

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Sri Lankan President and Indian Prime Minister, at a meeting in New Delhi on Friday morning, announced cooperation in renewable energy, among other areas. Last month, India and the UAE held talks to connect their grids through undersea cables for trading in renewable energy.

At present, power transfer with Bhutan is 2,070 MW, Bangladesh 1,160 MW, Nepal 1,200 MW and Myanmar 3 MW. With the commissioning of under-construction cross-border interconnections likely in two years, the power transfer would nearly double to 8,553 MW.

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