Kathmandu, April 19
The Union Cabinet of India chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the proposal of the Indian Ministry of Power to sign and ratify the ‘Memorandum of Understanding for Establishment of the BIMSTEC Grid Interconnection’ recently, according to information disclosed by the Indian Ministry of Power on its website.
“The MoU will be signed among the member states of BIMSTEC at upcoming third BIMSTEC Energy Ministers’ Meeting to be held in Nepal shortly.”
According to the Power Ministry, the MoU will provide a broad framework for the parties to cooperate towards the implementation of grid interconnections for trade in electricity with a view to promoting rational and optimal power transmission in the BIMSTEC region.
The memorandum will also facilitate the optimisation of using energy resources in the region for mutual benefits on non-discriminatory basis subject to laws, rules and regulations of the respective parties; promotion of efficient, economic, and secure operation of power system needed through the development of regional electricity networks; the necessity of optimisation of capital investment for generation capacity addition across the region; and power exchange through cross-border interconnections.
BIMSTEC is an international organisation involving a group of countries in South Asia and South East Asia viz Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal. The ‘Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation in BIMSTEC’ was formulated in the first BIMSTEC Energy Ministers’ Conference held in New Delhi on October 4, 2005.
The plan envisioned the ‘BIMSTEC Trans-Power Exchange and Development Project’, and it was decided that a task force led by Thailand, with representatives of member countries, will give a report on draft MoU for grid interconnections. A total of five meetings of the task force for BIMSTEC on Trans-power Exchange were held and the draft MoU for establishment of BIMSTEC Grid Interconnection was finalised by the task force on March 16, 2015.
In the BIMSTEC Leaders’ meet in Goa in October, 2016, a decision was taken to expedite signing of MoU on BIMSTEC Grid Interconnection and MoU was finalised from fourth meeting of the BIMSTEC senior officials on energy held in January this year.
A version of this article appears in print on April 20, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.