Kathmandu, December 4
Nepal and Bangladesh have agreed to build a cross-border transmission line to supply electricity generated in Nepal to Bangladesh. A joint steering committee (JSC) meeting held in the Capital today has agreed to form a team to finalise the procedures to build the cross-border transmission line.
The Nepali delegation was led by Anup Kumar Upadhyaya, secretary at the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation (MoEWRI) and the Bangladeshi team was led by Ahmad Kaikaus, secretary of Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources.
“The team will finalise the procedures and start the project as soon as possible,” said Upadhyaya. According to him, both nations
will finalise the team with three members each from both countries within a month and start the process to build the cross-border transmission line.
Nepal and Bangladesh had inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on energy cooperation on August 10. At the time Bangladeshi State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources NasrulHamid had mentioned that Bangladeshi investors were interested to invest in the hydropower and renewable energy sector in Nepal.
Following up on the MoU, a two-day meeting on energy cooperation between the two nations had started in the Capital on Monday. “We held discussions on various ways that energy trade and investment could be enhanced between the two nations,” informed Upadhyaya.
A 13-member team of the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources of Bangladesh had arrived in Kathmandu to participate in the meeting.
A joint secretary-level joint working group (JWG) meeting was held on Monday where the agendas for the JSC meeting were finalised to capitalise on the provisions of the MoU. As per the agreement these committees will have to meet every year and discuss and take forward the issues related to cooperation in the power sector between the two nations.
Nepal and Bangladesh had started discussing bilateral energy cooperation after the power trade agreement (PTA) was signed with India in 2014. Nepal has identified Bangladesh as a prospective market for hydroelectricity, which is a clean and renewable source of energy.
The two countries have already agreed upon to focus on electricity generation, development of hydroelectricity, cross-border transmission lines, development of efficient human resources in the hydel sector, promotion of government-to-government and private sector investment, grid connectivity, power efficiency and investment in renewable energy, among others.
According to Upadhyaya, the meeting has also decided to hold talks with the concerned Indian authorities to build the transmission line from either side of both the nations.
As per the MoEWRI, Nepal will soon be able to export 500 megawatts of electricity to Bangladesh. The Bangladeshi government has already signed an agreement to import electricity from the Upper Karnali project, which has installed capacity of 900 megawatts and is being developed by India-based GMR.
With expectations that the country will have surplus energy production within the next few years, the government has been focusing on diversifying the country’s energy trade and increasing energy consumption in the domestic market.
A version of this article appears in print on December 05, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.