NEW DELHI: India became a net exporter of electricity in the current financial year, reinforcing the turnaround story in the power sector but also underlining the slack in demand.
India exported 5,798 MU (million units) during the April 2016-February 2017 period to its neighbours, including Myanmar. This is roughly 4% more than the 5,585 MU it imported from Bhutan, data from the Central Electricity Authority showed.
India started cross-border trade in electricity in the mid-1980s, essentially by importing power from hydel projects built in Bhutan and supplying small quantities to Nepal as part of government-to-government deals. Since then, the country has established a mesh of cross-border interlinks for supply to Nepal and Bangladesh.
On an average, India has been importing 5,000-5,500 MUs from Bhutan, while exporting 190MW to Nepal over 12 cross-border lines from Bihar and UP and 600MW to Bangladesh through two interconnects. With rising cross-border wheeling capacity, exports to Nepal and Bangladesh have showed an increase of 2.5 and 2.8 times, respectively, in the last three years. The development also co incides with efforts to ex port coal to Bangladesh -an indication of the situation changing from shortage to surplus. India's power plants were facing acute fuel shortage till three years ago. But steps taken by the Modi government in the last three years have brought it to a position where it needs to look at exports, even if in small quantities, to maintain pace of mining and reduce stocks piling up at mines.
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