|Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy
The Bangladesh-India Electrical Grid Interconnection Project (the Project) will establish a cross-border link between the western electrical grid of Bangladesh and the eastern electrical grid of India to facilitate the exchange of electric power between the two countries. In accordance with technical, operational, and economic considerations, the proposed interconnection will include 125 km. of 400 kV double circuit transmission line between the electrical substations at Baharampur in India and Bheramara in Bangladesh, a 400 kV switching station at Baharampur (India) and a 500 MW back to back high voltage direct current (HVDC) sub-station (400/230 kV) at Bheramara (Bangladesh) and associated infrastructure. The system will facilitate an initial power flow of 500MW into Bangladesh from the Indian grid starting 2012 to partly address the significant power shortages in Bangladesh, with a provision to enhance the power flow to 1,000 MW.
The Bangladesh economy has grown at about 6% per annum on average over the past five years, and the same level of economic growth is expected in the coming years. Despite its notable progress on the macroeconomic front, Bangladesh's electrification ratio is still very low, providing electricity to less than 50% of the population. Rapid economic growth in Bangladesh is causing electricity demand to increase sharply as the country continues to industrialize and raise the living standards of its large population. Furthermore, the country's current dependable power generating capacity is significantly less than the peak demand leading to deficit of nearly 1,500 MW with frequent power cuts and voltage fluctuations. In addition, the need for energy diversification is recognized with concerns over the long term availability of domestically produced natural gas that currently fuels about 90% of the power sector generation capacity in Bangladesh.
Against the backdrop of a growing power crisis in Bangladesh, connecting the two grids would provide a platform to demonstrate the substantial economic benefits of enhanced regional cooperation and address the prevailing energy gap, which hinders economic and social development in the region. Successful implementation of the Project would be an important first step in the process of optimal and sustainable harnessing of regional energy resources. This would support regional cooperation in South Asia and help towards achieving ADB's Regional Cooperation and Integration objectives under Strategy 2020. ADB has been supporting dialogue on South Asia regional energy cooperation through the SAARC Regional Energy Trade Study (SRETS) , concluded in 2010. ADB had also initiated consulting support to the utilities in Bangladesh and India for discussions on various interconnection aspects through a small scale technical assistance (SSTA) in 1997.
A Joint Technical Team from India and Bangladesh examined multiple options regarding the interconnection of the grid between the two countries before identifying the proposed Project. An asynchronous mode of interconnection between the Indian and Bangladeshi transmission grid was determined to be appropriate to allow each country to retain independent control and operation over its own national grid, ensure complete control on the power transfer between the two countries and to obviate the requirement for additional upstream investment to protect generation assets in either country from cross-border faults and surges