Kathmandu, December 2
The Nepal-Bangladesh joint steering committee meeting on energy cooperation between the two nations is set to kick off in the Capital from Monday.
The first meeting between the respective authorities of the two countries after Nepal and Bangladesh inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on energy cooperation in August is expected to discuss on enhancing energy trade and investment between the two countries.
A 13-member team of the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources of Bangladesh has already arrived in Kathmandu to participate in the two-day joint steering committee meeting.
Anup Kumar Upadhyay, secretary at the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation (MoEWRI), will lead the Nepali delegation at the meeting.
“As this is the first joint steering committee meeting after the Nepal-Bangladesh energy cooperation agreement, the meeting will
primarily dwell on ways of capitalising on plans and provisions of the bilateral understanding on energy trade and investment,” said Dinesh Kumar Ghimire, joint secretary at MoEWRI.
According to him, the meeting will discuss on ways to enhance cross-border energy cooperation and promote investment in the hydropower sector of the two nations.
Following the understanding on energy cooperation that the two nations reached in August, a power secretary-level joint steering committee (JSC) and joint secretary-level joint working group (JWG) had been formed to capitalise on the provisions of the understanding. 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 have been enhancing energy cooperation especially after the Power Trade Agreement (PTA) was signed with India in 2014. 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.
“These are the issues that will be discussed at the meeting,” informed Ghimire.
Along with issues related to cross-border energy cooperation, Nepal is also expected to urge Bangladesh to purchase almost 500 megawatts of energy produced by the Upper Karnali hydropower project, which 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 few months back, Nepal had signed an agreement on energy cooperation with China whereby the northern neighbour has pledged to provide assistance in constructing the Galchhi-Kyirong cross-border transmission line and purchase electricity from Nepal.
A version of this article appears in print on December 03, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.