India assures to supply 50 MW electricity generated from Nepal's hydropower projects to Bangladesh

Published On: February 20, 2023 10:00 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

Nepal-India joint-secretary meeting

KATHMANDU, Feb 20: In the meeting of the Nepal-India Energy Secretary-level joint  steering committee, India has agreed to submit a proposal for exporting 50 megawatts of electricity generated from Nepal's hydropower projects to Bangladesh with certain conditions.

In a meeting chaired by Dinesh Kumar Ghimire, Secretary of the Ministry of Energy, Irrigation and Water Resources of Nepal and Alok Kumar, Secretary of the Ministry of Power of India, on Saturday at Mount Abu in Rajasthan, India, it was decided that if Nepal submits a proposal to export 50 megawatts of electricity produced in Nepal to Bangladesh, a decision will be taken according to India's Electricity Import/Export Guidelines. It has been agreed that the Indian side will be positive to give approval.

Madhu Prasad Bhetuwal, joint secretary of the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, said that in the meeting of the joint directorate committee at the secretary level of both countries, the Indian side has agreed to export electricity from Nepal to India with certain conditions.

Earlier, Nepal was repeatedly asking the Indian side for permission to export the electricity produced in Nepal to Bangladesh. Despite India's assurance in this regard, the door to Nepal's electricity export to Bangladesh was not opened. Neighboring country Bangladesh is also willing to buy the electricity produced in Nepal, but the electricity cannot be exported until India provides an inland transmission line on Indian land to deliver Nepal's electricity to Bangladesh. However, India has set the conditions in a roundabout way even in the Secretary-level meeting.

In the electricity import and export guidelines published by India on January 26, 2021, there is a provision not to export electricity from hydropower projects that are invested or controlled by individuals and companies of countries that do not have a bilateral agreement related to the cooperation in the electricity sector, even though it has a border with India. Due to this provision, India has been refusing to purchase electricity from projects involving the investment and company involvement of countries including China and Pakistan in Nepal.

Even in the agreement reached between the secretaries of the two countries, India has put the same thing as the main condition in a roundabout way. Ghising, Executive Director of Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), said that India has positively accepted the proposal put forward by Nepal to export electricity to Bangladesh using India's transmission grid.

"It has been decided to raise the proposal of the project to export electricity to Bangladesh to the Central Electricity Authority of India for approval and the authority will conduct necessary tests and give consent within the scope of the electricity import/export (cross border) guidelines issued by the Government of India", Ghising said in a press statement issued by the authority. Currently we are getting approval for one year to sell power through competition in the day-ahead market of Indian Energy Exchange Limited (IEX), we proposed to extend it by one year. It has been agreed to check and review it and approve the proposals submitted by us for the export of electricity for other additional projects.

Prepared to increase the capacity of the international transmission line by 200 megawatts, the secretary-level joint meeting of both countries has agreed to increase the capacity of import-export electricity from 600 megawatts to 800 megawatts. The ninth meeting of the Energy Secretary-level joint directorate committee of Nepal and India held in February 2022 agreed to increase the capacity of the Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur transmission line from 350 MW to 6,000 MW.

Currently, the Indian side is ready to expand the capacity of the transmission line to 800 megawatts, but it is not ready to purchase 600 megawatts of electricity from Nepal. Nepal is taking initiatives to export more than 1000 megawatts of electricity to India during drought. Although India is ready to increase the capacity of transmission lines, it seems reluctant to buy electricity according to the capacity of transmission lines.

The joint meeting has instructed the joint technical team for the study to exchange electricity from Dhalkebar Sitamarhi 400 kV transmission line which is being constructed by SJVN Arun 3 Power Development Company.

Similarly, the Indian side has been positive about Nepal's proposal to enter into an intergovernmental agreement to export electricity generated from various hydropower projects in Nepal to the Indian market. "It has been agreed to import and export 70 to 80 megawatts of electricity from the Tanakpur Mahendranagar 132 kV power transmission line," said Bhetuwal, the spokesperson of the ministry.

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