Bhutan is likely to cut power export to India in coming years even as it plans to import electricity during winter. Bhutan is expected to slash power export to India as the neighbouring country’s own electricity consumption rises fast due to industrialisation.
This move may force India to review its strategy to meet long-term power requirement.
Power import from Bhutan is progressively declining as availability of surplus electricity in the neighbouring country thins due to its rising consumption.
Bhutan is expected to export only 5,480 million units of electricity to India in 2012-13, compared to 6,500 million units in 2010-11 and 5,586 million units in 2011-12 According to sources in the Indian government, the falling import quantum is due to reduction in availability of surplus power in the country.
Bhutan is estimated to have potential to generate 30,000 mw electricity from its hydro- resources. Indian public sector companies like NHPC and NTPC are investing in hydropower projects in Bhutan in the hope of exporting surplus power to India. Tala hydropower plant is an example of bilateral cooperation between the two countries.
Meanwhile, Bhutan has expressed interest to buy power from India. Following that, the government has asked PTC India to negotiate terms and conditions for power export to Bhutan. “Bhutan needs base-load power. We are in talks with Bhutanese officials to export power,” said Tantra Narayan Thakur, chairman, PTC India.
The Indian company may start power export to Bhutan from December next year, sources said.
Bhutan has expressed interest in buying power from India, especially during winter when the level of hydro reservoirs dips and electricity generation falls.
The Indian government has asked PTC India, which is the Indian government’s nodal agency for power trading with Bhutan, to negotiate terms and conditions for supplying electricity to Bhutan. Bhutan’s rising electricity demand means availability of power from Bhutan could be far less than what was projected earlier.