Exporting electricity using Bihar’s grid to take more timeIn late June, Nepal Electricity Authority and PTC India agreed for Nepal to sell 300MW power in the southern market using Bihar transmission infrastructure.
Nepal has a long way to go before it can export an additional 300 megawatts of electricity to India through the transmission infrastructure of Bihar as agreed with the Indian side in June, officials said.
The state-owned Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) and the PTC India Ltd signed an agreement on June 28, paving the way for Nepal to use Bihar’s transmission infrastructure to sell 300MW of power in the Indian market.
To take the process forward, a meeting of the Joint Operation Committee, a mechanism formed between the NEA and the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) of India, was held on September 19 in New Delhi.
The two sides agreed on the draft working procedure that would set the course of power export and import using the transmission lines of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, said Kul Man Ghising, managing director of the NEA, who led the Nepali team during the talks.
The two sides agreed to submit the draft to the next meeting of the joint secretary-level Joint Working Group and the secretary-level Joint Steering Committee, possibly to be held in October, according to the NEA.
Once the Joint Steering Committee endorses it, the door opens for the approval process for Nepal’s power to be sold in the Indian market, said Ghising.
Considering the tasks that need to be completed before the export of electricity begins, the NEA officials are optimistic that 200MW of power could be exported to India using the intra-state power lines of Bihar before November.
“We may start exporting power using the internal power lines of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh only in the next wet season, but we can import power in the dry season using the infrastructure this year,” said Ghising. “We, however, are requesting the Indian side to create an environment for exporting 40 to 50 megawatts of power in the current wet season too,” he added.
The option of using the state-level infrastructure will provide a new route for trading power in India’s exchange market.
The two sides have been using the 400kV Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur transmission line and the 132kV Mahendranagar-Tanakpur line for the purpose so far.
In early September, New Delhi granted approval for an additional 180 MW of electricity generated by four hydropower projects in Nepal to be sold in the Indian market.
The two sides have already agreed to utilise the Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur line to its optimum level. During the 10th Joint Steering Committee (JSC) meeting held in February, the two sides had agreed to increase the quantum of traded power through Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur to 800MW from 600MW.
During the 14th meeting of the Joint Technical Team under the JSC held in New Delhi on September 20, the two sides reached an understanding on using this high-capacity line for transmitting up to 1,000 MW once the Hetauda-Dhalkebar-Inaruwa 400kV line is commissioned.
When it comes to utilising Bihar and Uttar Pradesh’s state transmission, the two sides agreed on the mechanism subject to approval from the JSC. “As per the latest understanding, transmission charge will be paid to Bihar,” said Prabal Adhikari, power trade director at the NEA.
During the 10th JSC meeting, the two countries had agreed to prepare a mechanism to export Nepal’s power to India with a 132KV or less capacity cross-border transmission line.
There are four 132kV cross-border transmission lines connecting Nepal and the Bihar state of India, excluding the 400kV Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur line. They are being used for the exchange of power only between Nepal and Bihar.
Under this arrangement, Nepal can import power from the Indian state whenever the country needs and so can Bihar do when it requires the electricity from the north. After India granted approval for selling 180MW of power in early September, NEA officials said the problem of power spillage, except due to the lack of transmission line, has ended.
“Still, Nepal's request for approval for several other projects to sell power in India is pending,” said Adhikari.