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Nepal and Bangladesh Seek Dedicated Power Grid Amidst Diplomatic Discussions with India

March 10, 2024 4:53 am

Nepal and Bangladesh Seek Dedicated Power Grid Amidst Diplomatic Discussions with India

Nepal and Bangladesh are exploring the possibility of establishing a dedicated transmission line to facilitate power trade between the two countries, with discussions ongoing regarding India’s involvement in this initiative.

Bangladesh’s State Minister for Power, Energy, and Mineral Resources, Nasrul Hamid, emphasized the importance of a dedicated transmission line between Nepal and Bangladesh via India during a recent meeting with Indian High Commissioner Pranay Verma. Highlighting the potential benefits for all parties involved, Hamid underscored the need to enhance power trade momentum through this dedicated infrastructure.

Despite never having engaged in electricity trade before, Nepal and Bangladesh are currently negotiating tariffs for the export of 40MW of power from Nepal to Bangladesh via India’s existing transmission infrastructure. However, both countries express a desire to increase power exchange in line with Nepal’s capacity and Bangladesh’s demand.

The proposal for a dedicated transmission line via India, which separates Nepal and Bangladesh geographically, necessitates India’s cooperation. However, there are doubts within Nepali circles about India’s willingness to participate fully in this endeavor, given its strategic considerations regarding electricity trade with neighboring countries.

India’s approach to cross-border transmission projects reflects its cautious stance on involvement from third countries. During recent discussions, India proposed a model where the Nepal section of two new cross-border transmission lines would be constructed by Nepal, while the Indian section would be handled by India. This indicates India’s preference for maintaining control over transmission infrastructure within its territory.

Nepal and Bangladesh have identified potential routes for the dedicated transmission line, which would traverse Indian territory. These routes have been assessed by a joint technical team from both countries, demonstrating a collaborative effort to explore feasible options.

The establishment of a dedicated transmission line is crucial for facilitating large-scale power exports from Nepal to Bangladesh, given the limited spare capacity of India’s existing transmission infrastructure. Nepal aims to export 15,000MW of power by 2035, with plans to sell significant portions to both India and Bangladesh.

Despite challenges and uncertainties surrounding India’s role and strategic considerations, Nepal and Bangladesh remain committed to exploring avenues for enhancing regional power trade. Establishing a dedicated transmission line would not only bolster energy cooperation between the two countries but also contribute to regional energy security and economic development. Ongoing discussions and negotiations will determine the feasibility and scope of this ambitious initiative.

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