Nepal is committed to implementing all agreements and understandings done in the past with Bangladesh to develop hydropower projects and export the surplus electricity generated by 20 power schemes to Bangladesh.
Talking to the daily sun, Nepalese Ambassador to Bangladesh Dr Banshidhar Mishra said the two countries have formed a joint technical team to identify potential hydropower projects for development.Bangladesh has expressed willingness to invest in 20 hydropower projects in Nepal during the meeting of Nepal-Bangladesh Technical Committee for promotion of trade in December last year.
He said the joint team will pick out bankable projects and recommend them to their respective governments. The two governments will then work together on the projects with bilateral investment.
The Energy Ministry of Nepal had also included the projects in an official document ensuring that all
seven states in Nepal receive at least one hydro project investments, he added.
The whitepaper issued by the Nepal’s Finance Ministry had included 962 MW capacity holding Tamor reservoir, 800 MW Dudhkoshi project which has a reservoir, 725 MW Upper Arun, 450 MW Kimathanka Arun and 679 MW Lower Arun.
Likewise, Sunkoshi-II 1,110 MW, Sunkoshi-III 536 MW, Tamakoshi-V 101 MW, Khimti Shiwalaya 500 MW and Kokhajor Reservoir 111 MW also are included in the then issued whitepaper. The whitepaper had listed a total of 20 hydropower projects, the ambassador said.In reply to a question about talks with India by Bangladesh and Nepal on using the Indian grid to transfer electricity from Nepal to Bangladesh, Mishra said Nepal’s energy export to Bangladesh has become possible after India amended its cross-border power trading regulation in December last year. The continued talks in the Indo-Nepal secretary level meetings since long time paved the way for power producers in Nepal to sell energy not only to India but also to Bangladesh.
He said India’s Cross-Border Trade of Electricity Regulations, 2019 has a provision that ‘the Transmission Planning Agency of India in consultation with the transmission planning agency of the neighbouring country shall grant access to the participating entities to use cross-border transmission link for cross-border trade of electricity.
“With this development, it has already been agreed that Nepal and Bangladesh will use Indian infrastructures for the immediate purpose. Both the nations have come over the idea of building a transmission line via India as India released a new transnational electricity supply master plan which further facilitates the aim set by the two nations.”
On another question about the development of purchase agreement of importing 500MW electricity from the GMR Upper Karnali Hydro Project, Ambassador Mishra said, “There will be more such partnerships...we all believe this to be positive signs of the mutual collaborations for both the countries.”
About the project, he said the GMR Energy is an Indian company developing the 900 MW export-oriented hydropower project, and Bangladesh will be the first country to import and benefit from this joint venture.
“The import will be coursed through dedicated transmission lines connected with the Indian transmission grid,” said the Nepalese Ambassador, adding “Nepal has facilitated the deal and is committed to ensure all legal procedure for the export as Nepal is set to receive 27 percent free equity and 12 percent free energy from the project.”
In this way, he said all three neighbours — Bangladesh, India and Nepal — will be able to collaborate for the green, clean and sustainable electricity catered to fulfil their energy needs through mutual collaboration.
Replying to another question about the progress of Bangladesh’s proposal to invest one billion US dollars in the hydro projects in Nepal, he said there has been repeated expression of interest and numerous attempts in developing hydropower projects in Nepal through mutual collaboration between the two countries.
He said a formal agreement was also signed in October 2016 to build plants capable of generating more than 1600MW.
An attempt was made to initiate possible collaboration between the two countries for hydropower generation on the sidelines of South Asian Economic Summit between the then minister of commerce Romi Gauchan Thakali and his Bangladeshi counterpart Minister Tofail Ahmed in October 2016.
However, the plan failed to move forward due to lack of coordination between the Commerce and Energy ministries.
During the meeting of energy ministers in August 2018, an agreement was signed to jointly develop hydropower plants, transmission lines and build capacity for the two countries. Nepal’s Energy Minister Barsha Man Pun and Bangladesh’s State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid led their respective delegation. The ministers discussed possible investments from both public and private sectors in the joint ventures.
On June 21 in 2019, Nepal and Bangladesh agreed to make joint investments in hydropower projects through signing an agreement again by Nepal’s Energy Secretary Dinesh Ghimire and his Bangladeshi counterpart Ahmad Kaikaus during the Joint Steering Committee meeting in Cox Bazar of Bangladesh. The second meeting of the Joint Technical Team (JTT) was held from 9 to 10 December 2019 in Kathmandu.
In a latest development, Bangladesh’s State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid participated as a keynote speaker in the two-day ‘Power Summit-2019’ held in Kathmandu on November 21-22 in 2019 with an aim to serve as a platform for regional cooperation on hydropower generation and electricity trade organised by IPPAN (Independent Power Producers’ Association of Nepal) in collaboration of the Government of Nepal.
The recent high level visits between Bangladesh and Nepal have opened new dimension of cooperation and collaboration between the two countries and energy was one of the major agenda for discussion for both the delegations.
Moreover, the ambassador said, “Nepal is observing political stability now and the same is Bangladesh. We can be optimistic about the collaboration in developing hydropower projects in Nepal being implemented soon.“