Staff Correspondent
Bangladesh and Nepal 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 of Nepal on 3-4 December agreed to form a team to finalise the procedures to build the line, according to the Power Division.
The Bangladesh team was led by Ahmad Kaikaus, secretary of Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources, and the Nepal delegation was led by Anup Kumar Upadhyaya, secretary at the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation (MoEWRI).
Bangladesh and Nepal 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 Nasrul Hamid 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 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 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 the power division, the meeting has also decided to hold talks with the Indian authorities concerned 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 Bangladesh 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.
Nepal has the prospects of producing 40,000MW of hydropower, and Bangladesh’s state-run and private companies can invest in the country’s future projects. However, Nepal imports 400MW electricity from India but has set a goal to produce 15,000MW of hydropower in 10 years, according to the Nepal government plan.