Electricity imports from India may meet nearly a quarter of Bangladesh’s total demand for power in the next couple of years, according to a senior Bangladeshi official.

India currently exports 660 MW of electricity, on a daily basis, to Bangladesh. Of the total, 250 MW is sold through a bilateral agreement at India’s domestic generation tariff. The rest are open market purchases.

Of the total supplies, 500 MW is transmitted to Bangladeshi power grid through Bheramara in Mursidabad and the remaining 160 MW through Suryamaninagar in Tripura to meet the local demand of South Comilla district of Bangladesh.

The current supplies are over seven per cent of Bangladesh’s own generation of 9,000 MW and five per cent of the projected demand of 12,600 MW by the Bangladesh Power Development Board.

According to sources, India is currently augmenting the capacity of the Bheramara transmission line to 1,000 MW. The possibilities of transmitting 500 MW electricity through some South Bengal locations where the Indian and Bangladeshi grids run in close proximity are also being explored.

“We are expecting power supplies to Bangladesh to go up by 500-1000 MW by 2018,” an Indian official confirmed. According to him, construction of a new line from Assam — where the 750 MW Bongaigaon power station is under commissioning — is under active consideration.

According to Bangladeshi sources, considering the congestion at the Siliguri corridor, India has proposed to build a 5,000-MW transmission grid connecting the North-Eastern States to the mainland through Bangladesh. In return, Bangladesh will get 20 per cent of the electricity.

This will primarily help in evacuation of large hydro-capacities planned in Arunachal Pradesh and Bhutan on common rivers. While Bangladesh was invited to participate in all the projects, Dhaka decided to participate in only one hydro project in Bhutan.

As the first step towards this direction, India plans to build a 1000 MWQ transmission grid through Bangladesh with bundle offer to share 500 MW electricity with that country. Except equity power, the rest of the electricity will be available for open market purchase principles through term contracts with producers.

Energy transition Power exports apart, India is also participating in a big way in energy transition in Bangladesh. India will build the electricity evacuation facility for the country’s first nuclear facility of 2,400 MW at Rooppur.

India may also participate a big way in Bangladesh’s recent thrust on LNG sector.

A traditionally gas-based economy, Bangladesh is facing dwindling reserves and sharp decline in domestic production.

Coal-based power As an alternative, Dhaka previously decided to increase the share of coal-based generation from 2 per cent to 50 per cent of the projected 25,000 MW demand in 2025. As part of the coal-based generation, NTPC is already building $2-billion 1320-MW Rampal power station in Bangladesh.

However, sources said considering the low price of LNG in the global market, the country recently tweaked its energy policy in favour of LNG-based generation.

While the details are not yet available, Bangladesh has decided to go for a lower share of coal mix in electricity than envisaged, and is looking forward to expand gas-based capacities riding on imported fuel.

Accordingly seven proposals were received from major energy players. While the US-based Excelerate Energy started construction of a floating storage and re-gasification unit (FSRU) at Moheshkhali, India’s Petronet LNG has proposed to build a $950-million LNG terminal at Kutubdia.

Petronet, which is still awaiting a firm approval from the Bangladeshi government, submitted a detailed report on the proposed project in September. Over all, Bangladesh received six proposals apart from the under-construction FSRU, of which two are from Petronet and Reliance of India.

India also proposed to build a LPG terminal to meet demand for cooking gas of both Bangladesh and North-Eastern States.