Hydropower projects in Nepal: Bangladesh’s investment decision after survey

Pathik Hasan

Kathmandu, October 4. Both Bangladesh and Nepal have been exploring the potential for investment by Bangladeshi companies’ in hydropower in Nepal

Bangladesh is set to take its decision on the selection of hydropower projects for investment in Nepal on completion of the ongoing survey by the Himalayan nation.

There are five potential projects, identified by the Nepalese government for investment by Bangladesh where the survey is ongoing, said a statement issued by the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources.

The statement came following the third meeting of the Bangladesh-Nepal Joint Steering Committee on Cooperation in the Power Sector, held virtually on Tuesday.

Bangladesh power secretary Habibur Raman and his Nepalese counterpart Devendra Karki led the delegations of their respective sites at the meeting.

The last meeting of the joint steering committee was held in June 2019 in Cox’s Bazar while the next one will be held either in March or April in Nepal, it mentioned.

Both Bangladesh and Nepal have been exploring the potential for investment by Bangladeshi companies’ in hydropower in Nepal and trying to cooperate with each other for the development of the power sector.

As part of the move, a joint steering committee and a joint working committee were formed by the two nations that hold meetings regularly.

The statement also said the steering committee had a fruitful discussion on the huge potential for setting up hydropower plants in Nepal and utilizing that to meet the electricity requirement of both countries.

The meeting seriously considered the issue of bilateral power trade between the two nations in line with their variable demands based on seasonal needs.

The meeting was informed that two joint technical teams comprising representatives of both the countries —one for generation and another for transmission—have been working to identify potential projects for financing and joint implementation of power plants in Nepal, determine the ways of import-export of electricity between the two countries and verify the feasibility of power transmission through inter-country power connections.

As part of the plan, the transmission lines will be built through Indian territories. So, the issue will be settled through a tripartite agreement of Bangladesh-Nepal-India.

In this regard, Nepal proposed exporting 200MW of electricity to Bangladesh through India using the existing transmission line.

The meeting discussed the progress of import of 500MW power by Bangladesh from the 900MW Upper Karnali Hydropower Plant in Nepal by Indian GMR Group.

Bangladesh informed that an agreement in this regard is at the final stage to be signed between Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB), GMR and NVVN of India.

The meeting reviewed the issues of cooperation between the two countries in exchange for experience, knowledge and skills in the expansion of renewable energy in Bangladesh and Nepal.

It highlighted the experience of solar home system activities and the net metering systems in Bangladesh.

The issue of signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between SREDA of Bangladesh and the Alternative Energy Promotion Center of Nepal for mutual cooperation was also discussed at the meeting.

Hydro-rich Nepal has proposed exporting around 200 megawatts (MW) of electricity to Bangladesh utilising the existing power-transmission infrastructure through India.

The proposal was placed at the third meeting of Bangladesh-Nepal joint steering committee (JSC) held virtually on Tuesday.

Bangladesh, however, is in final talks over the import of around 500MW electricity from Nepal’s under-construction 900MW GMR Upper Karnali Hydropwer Ltd.

The JSC meeting discussed the latest development on electricity imports.

Preparation for signing a tripartite agreement among Bangladesh’s state-run Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB), Nepal’s GMR, and India’s NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Ltd (NVVNL) is now at the final stage to facilitate the electricity import, the meeting discussed.

Power Division Secretary Md Habibur Rahman led the Bangladesh team, while Neal’s power, water resources and irrigation Secretary Devendra Karki led the respective side during the virtual meeting. The meeting also discussed the investment opportunity from Bangladesh to Nepal’s hydropower sector.

Nepal has identified five different potential spots to implement hydropower plants.

Potential investment opportunities by Bangladesh, including that of the private sector, can be detected on completion of an ongoing study, the virtual event was told.

The meeting also discussed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Bangladesh’s Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (SREDA) and Nepal’s Alternative Energy Promotion Centre. (Source: UNB, Dhaka Tribune and Financial Express BD)