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South Asia Cross-Border Electricity Trade and Cooperation Study

NREL uses power system modeling and regulatory analysis to identify opportunities that could be realized with increased cross-border electricity trade in the South Asia region.

A map of Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka
Illustration by Billy Roberts, NREL
This U.S. Department of State's Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Regional Connectivity Program commissioned NREL to assess what challenges and opportunities might arise from increased cross-border electricity trade (CBET) in the South Asia region.

The South Asia Cross-Border Electricity Trade and Cooperation Study focuses on two broad components. The first component examines the regulatory and governing evolution for successfully increasing trade between countries, while the second component addresses economic value and technical considerations by employing a detailed power system model to capture system operations of the South Asia grids.

Regulatory Component

The regulatory analysis component of the study is focused on the connected systems of India, Nepal, and Bangladesh, and identifies policy and regulatory questions that will likely need to be addressed for expanding regional CBET. The completed reports provide an in-depth analysis of the existing framework, regulatory barriers, market drivers, market readiness, and opportunities for CBET in these countries. The outcomes are roadmaps for decision makers within these countries to develop efficient CBET.

Read more about the South Asia CBET regulatory analysis on NREL News.

Power System Modeling Component

The power system modeling component utilizes newly created wind and solar data for the region to analyze operational impacts with increased cross border trade between Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. Six reports are published under this component covering various operational impacts and benefits of CBET and providing insights on the costs of solar and wind in the South Asia region through supply curve analysis. These supply curves are available at no cost and are hosted on NREL's Renewable Energy Data Explorer (RED-E) platform for the benefit of all stakeholders and researchers.

The production cost modeling studies conducted under this project investigated the potential benefits and operational impact of CBET between India-Sri Lanka, India-Nepal, and renewable energy trading in South Asia. These studies concluded that an integrated bulk power system in South Asia could improve resilience, increase benefits to customers, and increase economic efficiency for the region.

Market Context

South Asia's electricity grid of India, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka are separated by limited physical interconnections and separate governing structures. While India, Nepal, and Bangladesh are physically interconnected, the degree to which they trade electricity is limited. An evolving electricity market in India along with a shift toward renewable energy generation could increase the opportunities for cross-border trade in the region. Additionally, the growth of renewable energy in India and Sri Lanka exposes some benefits to interconnection of the grids between these countries that may not have existed in the past.

Resources

Simulation of Cross-Border Energy Trading in South Asia, NREL Presentation (2020)

Cross-Border Energy Trading and Renewable Energy Zones, NREL Technical Report (2020)

Cross-Border Energy Trade between Nepal and India: Assessment of Trading Opportunities, NREL Technical Report (2019)

Cross-Border Energy Trade between Nepal and India: Trends in Supply and Demand, NREL Technical Report (2019)

Regulatory Foundations for Cross Border Electricity Trading: India, NREL Technical Report (2019)

Regulatory Foundations for Cross Border Electricity Trading: Nepal, NREL Technical Report (2019)

Regulatory Foundations for Cross Border Electricity Trading: Bangladesh, NREL Technical Report (2019)

Cross-Border Electricity Trade between India and Sri Lanka: Impact on Power System Operations, NREL Technical Report (2018)

South Asia Wind and Solar Supply Curves, NREL Technical Report (2018)

Capturing Inter-Annual Variability of PV Energy Production in South Asia, NREL Technical Report (2017)