For the first time in history, India exporting more electricity than it is importing

Arkadev Ghoshal
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India has, for the first time in history, become a net exporter of electricity — a development that puts a stamp of approval on the policy the Ministry of Power is implementing in the country. The figures are from FY 2017, which still has a few more days to go. 

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This comes even as the government data has shown that it is well on track to achieve its goal of rural electrification by 2019, and is two-thirds of the way there within half the time it had set itself to achieve the goal still remaining. 

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According to a recent statement from the Ministry of Power, which quotes figures from the Central Electricity Authority — the "designated authority of the government of India for cross-border trade of electricity" — India has for the first time "turned around from a net importer of electricity to net exporter of electricity." 

The ministry added in the statement: "During the current year 2016-17 (April to February 2017), India has exported around 5,798 Million Units (MU) to Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar, which is 213 MU more than the import of around 5,585 MU from Bhutan."

Since the beginning of the inter-country power trade in the 1980s, India has been importing 5,000-5,500 MU of electricity from Bhutan. However, it has also been exporting much smaller amounts to Bangladesh, Myanmar and Nepal. 

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How India became net exporter

India had initially been exporting around 190 MW (MegaWatts) to Nepal through 12 cross-border lines. This was increased by 145 MW due to the operation of a new line in 2016. Similar was the case with Bangladesh, where India augmented its power supply in a few phases since 2013, resulting in current annual supply of 600 MW of electricity. 

The Ministry of Power statement also said: "Export of power to Nepal is expected to increase by around 145 MW shortly over 132 kV Katiya (Bihar)–Kusaha (Nepal) and 132 kV Raxaul (Bihar)– Parwanipur (Nepal)." 

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It added: "A few more cross-border links with neighbouring countries are in pipeline which would further increase export of power."

And this is what the government has achieved so far: 

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