China agrees to carry out feasibility study of the transmission line in Chinese side as soon as possible
KATHMANDU, Sept 27: Nepal and China have agreed to launch the construction of the Jilong-Keyrung-Rasuwagadhi-Chilime 220 KV Cross-Border Transmission line at an early date.
This is the first time that China has shown some positive indication to cooperate with Nepal in installation of the cross-border energy distribution infrastructure. Although for the past few years, Nepal had been seeking consent from China to export its hydroelectricity, it was not possible mainly due to apathy shown by its northern neighbor.
In the latest development, China expressed its commitment to expedite the work during the visit of Nepal’s Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal to China. A joint statement issued by the governments of Nepal and China has put forth the issue in this regard, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The two sides agreed to further promote cooperation in the field of energy, particularly the development of hydropower and cross-border transmission lines and substations.
“The two sides will continue working toward the finalization of China-Nepal Electric Power Cooperation Plan by convening the second meeting of the Joint Implementation Mechanism at the earliest,” reads the joint statement.
The two sides will continue to make good use of the platform of the China-Nepal Joint Implementation Mechanism. The Mechanism will carry out exchanges and cooperation in the field of hydropower, wind power, solar power, biomass power and hydrogen.
The Chinese side agreed to positively consider the request made by the Nepali side for supplying grid power to electrify northern remote villages of Nepal from Xizang Autonomous Region of China, and take overall consideration of providing equipment or technology on commercial terms.
Nepal had started installation of the Rasuwagadhi-Keyrung transmission line in 2018 with the aim of cross-border energy trade, but the construction work is yet to complete till date. Initially, a feasibility study of the project was supposed to complete within two years, however it was delayed and completed only in five years. Likewise, the initially planned capacity of 400 kV transmission line was reduced to 220 kV later on.
Dinesh Ghimire, secretary at the Ministry of Energy, Water Supplies and Irrigation, said Nepal has already conducted a feasibility study to install a 16 km stretch of the cross-border transmission line. “However, the feasibility study on the Chinese side is yet to be done,” said Ghimire, adding that the bilateral talks have now agreed to take forward the study of the Chinese side.
At present, Nepal has been exporting its surplus electricity to India, while the country also imports electricity from its southern neighbor during the dry season. The Himalayan country has been looking forward to exporting its surplus electricity to Bangladesh and China.
Apart from energy cooperation, the two countries have also agreed to step up exchanges and cooperation at all levels in such areas as education, science and technology, telecommunication, culture, tourism, radio and television, think tank, and youth. The two sides also agreed to discuss cooperation in areas such as the digital economy, digital infrastructure and artificial intelligence, among others.