Pankaj Batra is the Project Director of South Asia Regional Initiative for Energy Integration (SARI/EI) program funded by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by Integrated Research and Action for Development (IRADe). Talking to ETEnergyworld in an exclusive interview, he talks about how the program is enabling cross border power trade and working on common minimum grid code in the region.
Can you tell us how the SARI/EI program is enabling cross border power trade in the region, and is ensuring returns to investors and affordable electricity supply to its consumers?
Studies done by Integrated Research and Action for Development (IRADe), under United States Agency for International Development (USAID)’s South Asia Regional Initiative for Energy Integration (SARI/EI) program, show that all the countries involved in electricity trade in South Asia gain in terms of economic value in case of cross border electricity trade. The program is attempting to facilitate this trade in energy, through technical assistance and capacity building to South Asian countries, so as to enable them to trade in electricity.
If an asset is used optimally, it effectively reduces the cost for all user countries, in effect reducing the cost for consumers of all countries, just like shared mobility operators. This trade reduces the stranded generating capacity existing in India, where stranded thermal power plants in India can sell their power across the border, where there is a shortage of power. Similarly, the excess hydro power generation in Nepal and Bhutan, in the high inflow season, will be able to find a market in India and Bangladesh, at a time when there is high demand in the latter countries.
Hence, this would ensure return to investors in the power generation assets. Investors’ returns for investment in common transmission infrastructure are ensured through written agreements with well laid out rules on how the costs are to be shared.