India calls for synergy through energy

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New Delhi, Sept 23 (UNI) Minister of State for Power Jairam Ramesh today called for the creation of a new architecture of bilateral cooperation whose distinctiveness would be synergy through energy.

Addressing the Power Summit 2008 in Kathmandu, he said trade in electricity will bring considerable financial benefits to India's neighbours.

Referring to the Prime Minister of Nepal's recent visit to India during which he unveiled his vision of Nepal developing 10,000 Megawatts (MW) of its hydel power potential over the next ten years, the Minister pointed out that there will be need for new markets to be developed for the export of the power generated and clearly India is one such market.

He said Nepal's electricity potential could also be used to attract Indian investments in electricity-intensive industries, exports of which to India could help bridge the trade deficit that Nepal has been concerned in relation to India.

According to an official communication received here, Mr Ramesh said hydel projects, involving Indian companies make up a total of around 1,700 MW which is a substantial quantum to give concrete shape to the perspective put forward by the Prime Minister of Nepal.

The GMR Group is developing the 302 MW Upper Karnali and the 250 Upper Myarsangdi projects, the Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam has won the contract for the 402 MW Arun-III project while IL &FS and Power Trading Corporation are participating in the 750 MW West Seti project.

Elaborating on how India is helping develop the hydel resources in the region, the Minister said Bhutan and India are now working together to develop 10,000 MW of capacity in Bhutan by 2020 for sale of electricity to India.

India has just signed a MoU with Myanmar for developing hydel projects in the Chindwin Basin, of which the most immediate is the 1,200 MW Tamanthi project.

To complete this regional round-up, India is working with Sri Lanka on grid interconnection and to set up a 500 MW thermal plant in Trincomallee. Technical studies were also done last year on interconnection of respective grids with a view to transfer around nine billion kwhs per year from India to Bangladesh.

This, he said, is in addition to the hydel capacity that is being added within India itself particularly with a view to meet the growing peaking shortages and also to improve the hydel:thermal mix from the present undesirable 25:75 to a more acceptable 40:60 proportion over the next two and a half decades.

Presently, India has about 35,000 MW of installed hydel power capacity and the long-term plan is to harness another 50,000 MW by 2025.

The Minister observed that over the past sixty years, India has put in place an installed power generating capacity of around 140,000 MW. Over the next ten years, we will be increasing this by about 140,000 MW.

Emphasising that though imports from neighbouring countries will form a small proportion of capacity addition and energy generation, Mr Ramesh said that for India, electricity imports (and exports) are an important instrument of regional integration, an essential adjunct to trade in goods, services and investment.

The Summit has been organised jointly by Independent Power Producers' Association, Nepal (IPPAN), Power Trading Corporation (PTC) and Nepal India Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NICCI) and has support of GMR Group, IIDC, Suzlon, Athena Energy Ventures Ltd, AES, Jindal Steel and Power Limited from India and SN Power and Butwal Power Company from Nepal.

UNI BKS SBA CS1722

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