Dhaka has refloated an idea of getting a share of Indian hydropower in exchange of letting the neighbour set up transmission lines from its northeastern Arunachal Pradesh to northwestern regions through Bangladesh, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said on Sunday.
Talking to BSS, Momen said during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent Bangladesh visit, he proposed the idea for mutual benefit as Arunachal Pradesh and adjacent northeastern Indian regions were sources of huge quantum of untapped renewable energy."We expressed our interest and I told him (the Indian premier) that you now need to spend a huge amount of money to transmit hydropower from India's northeastern to northwestern region while you can use our plain land to reduce the cost," he said.
India was planning to explore all hydropower potentials in Arunachal Pradesh and other northeastern states.
According to the foreign minister, Modi said India already consulted with different financial institutes including World Bank regarding prospects of the hydropower.
Momen said Bangladesh expected to get 20 to 25 percent of the hydropower to be transmitted through the high voltage gridline passing through its territory.
The foreign minister said that Bangladesh wanted to take a lead role in South Asia in connectivity front by setting up several power transmission corridors alongside optimising the use of its waterways through all 54 transboundary rivers with India.
Bangladesh currently imports around 1000 MW of power from Indian state West Bengal's Baharampur through Bheramara and 140MW from northeastern Indian state of Tripura through Akhaura.The seventh meeting of Joint Steering Committee on India-Bangladesh cooperation in energy sector came up with a report in 2014 saying India could transmit power from Assam to its Northwestern regions using three routs including Bangladesh's Boropukuria of Dinajpur or Jamalpur.
As per the report, the transmission line with the capacity of 6,000MW in Bangladesh land may be 100km in length if it is built in Boropukuria and 200km if is installed in Jamalpur while a substation would be built in each route.
Two possible routes of the transmission line are -- from Assam's Bonga through Baropukuria (Dinajpur) or Jamalpur to Bihar's Purnia and from Assam's Shilchar via Meghna Ghat-Bheramara to West Bengal.
The report, however, did not mention about the third transmission corridor.
Bangladesh's Power Division officials said the country could benefit allowing the Indian transmission line through its territory also from the wheeling charge alongside buying 20-25 percent of the total power to be transmitted.
Momen said Bangladesh wanted to entirely phase out the use of fossil fuel as energy sources exploring renewable sources in view of its commitment to the climate change issue.
"We don't have that many sources of renewable energy as wind power is not feasible here and solar panels are very expensive … so hydropower is the ultimate way of getting it," he said.