Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, June 26:

Power trade among member states of the South Asia Growth Quadrangle (SAGQ) — Nepal, India, Bhutan and Bangladesh — would create economic and social benefits for its members, said a study carried out by South Asia Regional Initiative for Energy (SARI/E).

The SAGQ countries possess vast resources of hydropower, forest, coal and natural gas but the per capita energy consumption is only 5.9 per cent.

“The persistent energy shortage is a major factor for the low growth in this region,” said the study, adding that sub-regional cooperation in energy sector may be a solution to many socio-economic problems.

Presenting the findings, Mahesh Acharya, the project coordinator, Transmission and Distribution of Nepal Electricity Authority, said that power grid interconnections could generate foreign exchange.

Acharya said that the power export potential to India from the proposed 750 MW West Seti Project and others could earn $308 million annually and Nepal could earn nearly $1.25 billion by 2031 if interconnections are developed with power trade agreements among member states.

“Energy cooperation will enhance the quality of power supply which will ultimately contribute to the efficiency of the industrial sector,” said Acharya.

He also said that interconnecting regional grids would reduce the transmission and distribution losses by 90 MW, which means a saving of $79.12 million. The participants of the media round-table stressed on reaching a multilateral power trade agreement. They, however, said that lack of peace and instability and the high cost of hydropower generation in Nepal are the hurdles for the export of clean energy.