France keen to lend technical expertise for South Asian power trade

France keen to lend technical expertise for South Asian power trade

New Delhi: France is keen to extend technical expertise for developing cross-border power trade in South Asia as India looks to create a robust power market with Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan.

Lise Breuil, India country director for AFD, France’s official development agency, told Mint that France is keen to share its expertise gained from the creation of the European cross-border power market.

She cited the work done by Expertise France, the country’s international technical cooperation agency that works with partner countries, including India, to design projects that advance sustainable development goals.

“Regarding energy, this connection that is going to the Northeast and towards Nepal and Bhutan is maybe where we would like to work with Expertise France on the soft side to see how we can bring expertise on how an international electricity market works, which is generally complicated,” Breuil told Mint.

Its focus areas include democratic strengthening, peacebuilding, climate change and healthcare. “Before building the European market of electricity, it took years and years. So, trying to share that experience is where we would be at the moment,” she added.

New Delhi has taken several steps to build a South Asian energy market. An India-Nepal-Bangladesh power trade agreement is in its final stages and an India Energy Exchange has already been set up to facilitate the energy trade with India’s neighbours.

An India-Sri Lanka power line project that hopes to link the power grids of the two countries is in advanced stages of negotiation. A detailed project report has been completed and is being reviewed prior to formal approval.

Ajay Tewari, additional secretary, ministry of power, said last year, “India today has a very robust power grid running from North to South and East to West of the country. In the future we would like to see the grid connected to neighbouring countries including Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and then expand that connection to South-east Asian countries, to emerge as a unified market.”

A South Asian power market is likely to benefit countries by reducing prices, ensuring stability of supply and expanding regional connectivity. Since 2015, cross-border power transmission has increased from 2.1 GW to 6.4 GW after projects linked India with Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh.

“A more deeply integrated power system in South Asia positions electricity trade as a new driver of economic benefits. It could result in greater investments in renewables, more jobs, electricity trade savings for importers and revenues for exporters,” writes Guangzhe Chen, Vice President for Infrastructure at the World Bank.

Further, under the ‘One Sun One World One Grid’ scheme of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) India has been planning to set up connections with national grids of countries in West Asia and South East Asia. India has signed an MoU with Saudi Arabia for power grid interconnection and green hydrogen supply. Similar MoUs for power connectivity are being planned with the UAE and Singapore.

 

 

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Updated: 04 Dec 2023, 08:23 PM IST

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