New Delhi (MINT): An India-Sri Lanka power line project that hopes to link power grids between the two countries is in advanced stages of negotiation. A detailed project report (DPR) has been completed and is being reviewed prior to formal approval. The proposed power line received a boost from president Ranil Wickremesinghe’s visit to India in July.
“We have decided that the work of connecting the electricity grids between the two countries will be expedited,” said Prime Minister Modi in a statement during Wicrekemsinghe’s visit.
Mint had reported in January this year that the public sector Power Grid Corporation of India had prepared a preliminary report for the project. Mint reported that the interconnection would take place through overhead power lines and not subsea cables.
Talks on establishing power grid connectivity have been on for over a decade now. In 2010, the two countries agreed to explore the feasibility of linking their grids through an undersea cable. The proposal was dropped due to cost concerns.
Power grid connectivity will serve several purposes. First, it will help crisis-hit Sri Lanka improve its energy security after the country saw widespread power shortages in 2022. These outages, along with the country’s raging economic crisis, contributed to the fall of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. The project may also eventually allow Sri Lanka to sell power to India and earn vital foreign exchange in the long term.
“India today has a very robust power grid running from North to South and East to West of the country. In the future we would like to see the grid connected to neighbouring countries including Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and then expand that connection to South-east Asian countries, to emerge as a unified market,” said Ajay Tewari, additional secretary, ministry of power in December 2022.
India has been keen to explore the possibility of creating a South Asian market for the power trade. It has established power grid connectivity with neighbouring countries like Nepal and Bhutan. According to media reports, India, Nepal and Bangladesh may have already finalised a draft text for a tripartite power trade agreement.
The project can also help India move ahead with its ‘One World One Sun One Grid’ (OSOWOG) programme under the International Solar Alliance.