India agrees to expedite construction of a number of cross-border transmission lines to facilitate bilateral energy trade with Nepal

Published On: February 20, 2023 09:00 AM NPT By: RAJESH KHANAL

The bilateral energy talks which concluded on Saturday consented on allowing Nepal to export up to 1,200 MW of electricity to India

KATHMANDU, Feb 20: India has given the green signal on allowing Nepal to export up to 1,200 MW of electricity by using the Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur cross-border transmission line and a number of similar infrastructures in the Nepal-India border areas alongside Bihar of India.  

The South Asian giant has consented to Nepal’s proposal to import the aforementioned amount of electricity during the two-day bilateral energy talks that concluded on Saturday in Rajasthan, India. Citing an increasing production of hydropower inside the country, Nepal forwarded the proposal in the 10th Nepal-India Secretary (Joint Steering Committee - JSC) and Joint Secretary (Joint Working Group - JWG) meetings.

India has agreed to purchase up to 1,200 MW of electricity from Nepal at the time when the landlocked Himalayan country has been struggling to utilize its surplus production during the rainy season, while India itself has been undergoing pressure to switch to the green energy from its traditional coal-based power plants.

Nepal has aimed to produce 15,000 MW of electricity by 2030. On the other hand, India has set a target of achieving zero carbon emissions by 2070. For this purpose, the use of renewable energy is necessary.

Madhu Prasad Bhetuwal, joint secretary at the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation (MoEWRI), who participated in the meeting, informed Republica that the Indian side has agreed to import 800 MW of electricity via the Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur cross-border transmission line during the rainy season. As of now, the southern neighbor has been allowing Nepal to sell only up to 600 MW of electricity by using this corridor.  

Although this transmission line can carry up to 1,000 MW, Nepal has been selling only 452 MW of hydroelectricity using the Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur line. In the new development, Nepal can sell an additional 350 MW by using this structure.

Similarly, the JSC meeting also approved permitting Nepal to sell additional electricity by using four 132 kV transmission lines connected to Bihar from the upcoming monsoon. According to the MoEWRI, both the countries have agreed to construct two cross border lines connecting Nepal’s Inaruwa and India’s New Purnea and Dodhara of Nepal and Bareilly of India. In addition, India has expressed its commitment to complete construction of its transmission lines on its land in Bihar in the stipulated time.

The bilateral meeting has agreed to complete construction of Inaruwa-New Purnea transmission line by 2027/28, while construction of the infrastructure in Dodhara-Bareilly is expected to be ready by 2028/29.  Each of these two transmission lines will be built to supply up to 2,000 MW of electricity, according to Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA).

As per the agreement, the cross-border supply of electricity via Bihar-based transmission lines will be overlooked by Central Electricity Authority of India in coordination with the NEA and the authorities concerned in Bihar. The initiative will be materialized as per the Guidelines for Import/Export (Cross Border) of Electricity-2018.

Earlier, both the countries sat for talks in the 8th meetings of JWG and JSC, which were held through virtual means during the COVID-19 pandemic. The 9th meeting was organized last year in Kathmandu.

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