Experts discuss interconnected electricity grid to boost renewable energy trade in BIMSTEC region

Global energy experts havegathered in Dhaka to discuss the implementation of an inter-connected regionalelectricity grid and commencing multilateral energy trade among the membercountries of Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and EconomicCooperation (BIMSTEC).

The discussion are part ofa two-day conference on Enhancing Energy Cooperation starting today. Industryrepresentatives and stakeholders from BIMSTEC countries including Bangladesh,Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Thailand have gathered at theconference, jointly convened by the U.S. Agency for International Development(USAID) and BIMSTEC.

Regional energy cooperationis aimed at replacing fossil fuel imports by switching to non-fossil fuelgeneration such as wind, solar and hydropower.ALSO READ: India has committeddevelopment of energy and infra projects worth Rs 75,000 cr in partnercountries: MEA Increased access and availability of electricity is ofparticular relevance to the BIMSTEC region as some of its member countries arestill in the process of providing 100 per cent energy access to their people.

The region is also home toa population of 1.65 billion and is among the fastest growing regions in theworld, with a combined GDP of US$ 3.75 trillion.

“The region is one of thefastest growing economies in the world and it is heavily dependent on energyimports. BIMSTEC wants to promote energy security in the region by promotingpower trade and development of clean energy resources such as hydropower andrenewable energy,” M Shahidul Islam, Secretary Generalof BIMSTEC said.ALSO READ: World Refugee Crisis: Renewables can providelow-cost reliable power supply to refugee settlements.

In 2018, the groupingsigned a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the establishment of gridinterconnection to facilitate electricity trade among member countries througha region-wide grid, in an effort to reduce import dependence and move towardsenergy sufficiency.ALSO READ: India becomes second-largest market for GreenBonds with $10.3 billion transactions.

Being geographicallyinterconnected, the region allows re-routing of new high capacity transmissionlines through another country, such as the India – Bangladesh Power Corridor, with reported transportation capacity of6,000 MW of power from India’s north east throughBangladesh to Indian load centers.