Infamous for its power outages, India can finally tell the world it has become a net exporter of electricity.

India exported 5,700 million units of electricity to neighbouring countries Bangladesh, Nepal, and Myanmar during the financial year 2016-17, the power ministry said this week.

In comparison, the nation imported 5,585 million units of electricity during the same period, more than 200 million units short of the export quantity. 

“Ever since the cross border trade of electricity started in mid-80s, India has been importing power from Bhutan and marginally exporting to Nepal in radial mode at 33 kV and 132 kV from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh,” the ministry said in a press statement. 

“On an average Bhutan has been supplying around 5,000- 5500 million units to India. India had also been exporting around 190 MW power to Nepal over 12 cross border interconnections at 11kV, 33kV and 132 kV level,” the statement adds, noting that export of power to Nepal last year increased by around 145 MW.

This is a welcome change for India, which has been aggressively trying to overcome the power outage issues in towns and villages. 

However, India is far from moving past all its electricity woes. The electricity infrastructure — grids, for one — is in dire need of upgrade.   

On top of this, the country still needs to figure out better way to generate electricity. India gets most of its electricity by burning coal, the cheapest and most abundant source of energy. Coal contributes to the rising emissions.

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