Friday, March 29, 2019

India to allow Nepal’s power export to third countries

India committed to allow Nepal to export electricity through its territory to countries like Bangladesh and Myanmar. With India willing to allow transmission of electricity to Bangladesh via its territory, the foreign investors' moral is expected to get a boost. The foreign investors have been expressing concerns about lack of access to foreign markets for energy produced in Nepal.
"Nepal is a hub for hydropower electricity generation and it has great potential to recharge entire South Asia as a battery backup,” secretary of the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) of India Sanoj Kumar Jha said, addressing a session 'Energy: Generating 15000 MW Meeting Domestic And Cross Border Demand For Economic Transformation' at the Nepal Investment Summit in Kathmandu today.
"India will provide necessary support to export Nepal’s power to Bangladesh and Myanmar through its territory," the chief of the key regulator of power sector in India said, adding that India also needs more hydropower electricity to diversify its energy mix.
India has set a target of increasing the share of hydropower generated electricity to 40 per cent in its total energy mix as India’s energy portfolio is heavily skewed towards coal-based thermal power. India's hydropower accounts for only 26 per cent of the total energy mix."
Nepal is expected to become energy-surplus nation during wet season once 456-megawatt Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project and few others come into operation from next year.
"We are searching for markets in South Asia and beyond to sell the excess power,” said energy minister Barsha Man Pun, on the occasion. "The government is also seeking support of domestic and foreign investors to tap the country’s energy potential, which stands at over 80,000 MW, whereas current installed capacity stands around 1,270 MW only."
He also committed to reform the power sector and make sure that proper policy and legal instruments are in place to harness Nepal’s huge energy potential. "The government is currently formulating an integrated water resources policy, which will guide the overall development of water resource-based projects in Nepal," he said, adding that it has also begun to develop river basin plans and a hydropower development master plan for holistic development of potential energy projects. "The government has put energy in top priority as the sector is the major basis of country's economic transformation."
The government has set a target to produce 15,000-megawatt power within next 10 years and export 5,000 MW, Pun added. "The government has been taking initiatives to bring in foreign investment in big projects."
Urging the foreign investors to invest in hydropower sector of Nepal as it is the important foundation for the development of South Asia he also informed that projects like Dhalkebar-Mujjaffarpur transboundary transmission line have been forwarded.
"Nepal needs to export electricity to fast growing economies like India and Bangladesh,” suggested general manager of Power China Song Dongsheng. "Very soon energy consumption in South Asia will also go up and Nepal’s electricity will play a vital role in meeting the demand," he said, promising that China is ready to provide necessary support to Nepal’s power sector under the one belt one road initiative.
Chief Engineer of Bangladesh Power Development Board Mohabubur Rehman, on the occasion, informed that Bangladesh targeted to import 9,000 MW of power from Nepal by 2040 and that 500 MW was being purchased from the Upper Karnali Hydropower Project.
Power purchase agreement (PPA) with GMR, developer of Upper Karnali Hydropower Project of Nepal. "It is also underway to import 500 MW immediately," according to Rahman. "It is believed that the finalisation of PPA is expected to pave the way for signing financial closure in the project."
Nepal and Bangladesh have also signed an agreement of energy cooperation and also announced a plan to build electricity transmission line via India. Bangladesh has also been seeking Indian support in bilateral and multilateral talks to import energy.
National Planning Commission (NPC) member Dr Krishna Prasad Oli, on the occasion, stressed the need for constructing watershed hydropower projects to reduce impact of climate change. Stating that a bilateral mechanism has been set up for exchange of cooperation among neighbours China, India and Bangladesh, he said efforts were underway to export Nepal's electricity to the regional market.
SAARC Energy Framework Agreement signed in 2014 has laid the foundation of energy cooperation and exchange, which paved the way for further cooperation in energy transfer among the South Asian countries.
Likewise, executive director of the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) Kulman Ghising said efforts were afoot to achieve the government's goal to produce 3,000 megawatts electricity in next three years, 5,000 MW in five years and 15,000 MW in 10 years. "Pojects of 16,000 MW are at various phases of construction."
Speakers at the session also highlighted the institutional arrangements and bilateral agreements that the government had made for investors in the energy sector.

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