Kathmandu, February 19

The 10th meeting of Nepal-India Energy Secretary-Level Joint Steering Committee has concluded with pivotal decisions on the expansion of electricity transmission lines and trade promotion between the two countries.

The meeting held at Mount Abu in Rajasthan, India on Saturday and co-chaired by Dinesh Kumar Ghimire, secretary at the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, of Nepal government, and Alok Kumar, secretary at the Ministry of Power of India, decided to advance the construction of high capacity transmission lines for cross-border electricity trade.

The 10th JSC meeting was a turning point for power production, transmission and trade, said Managing Director of Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) Kulman Ghising.

NEA MD Ghising, who participated in the meeting, informed that India has positively accepted the proposal made by Nepal to export electricity to Bangladesh using India’s transmission grid, and further necessary agreement will be inked after Nepal sends the name of the hydropower project that will be exporting the electricity to Bangladesh.

“It has been decided to submit a proposal of the hydropower project that will export electricity to Bangladesh to the Central Electricity Authority of India for approval and the Indian authority will conduct necessary examination and approve as per the electricity cross border guidelines issued by the government of India,” said Ghising.

“Our Indian counterpart has also agreed to approve our proposal to extend the duration and other additional hydro projects to trade electricity through competitive bidding in the dayahead market of Indian Energy Exchange Ltd (IEX). Moreover, we have been informed that the proposal to participate in the real time market is under testing phase.”

Currently Nepal has received the approval to trade 386 MW of power in IEX for one year.

Ghising further said that the Indian side is also positive on Nepal’s proposal for long-term electricity export from Nepal on the basis of Nepal-India Inter Government Agreement.

The meeting has also decided to export power to India from Tanakpur-Mahendranagar 132 kV single circuit transmission line, which was only being used to import electricity until now.

The meeting has agreed to transfer 70 MW from April to June and 80 MW from July to March from Tanakpur-Mahendranagar transmission line in both directions.

“This has opened the way for hydropower projects located in various districts of Sudurpaschim Province to export electricity to the central transmission system of India during monsoon,” he said.

“Also, the joint technical group has been directed to find possible options for expanding the capacity of the existing transmission line or construct a new transmission line of 200 kV,” he added.

For electricity import and export between Nepal and India, the meeting has decided to implement the Inaruwa Purnia and Naya Lamki (Dododhara) and Bareilly 400 kV transmission lines by the year 2027-28 and 2028-29, respectively.

Nepal proposed to make these transmission lines in investment modality of new Butwal-Gorakhpur transmission line.

After the construction of these two transmission lines, there will be five transmission lines of 400 kV capacity for electricity trade between the two countries.

It has been decided to conclude the new Butwal-Gorakhpur line implementation and transmission service contract soon and to complete the construction of the line by March 2025.

Also, the meeting has agrees to increase the electricity capacity to 800 MW from 600 MW from Dhalkebar Muzaffarpur 400 kV transmission line.

The meeting also directed the joint technical team to study the transfer of electricity from the under-construction Dhalkebar Sitamarhi (India) 400 kV transmission line to the Arun III hydropower project being constructed by the Sutlej Hydropower Corporation owned by the government of India in Sankhuwasabha.

It has been decided to complete the construction of the second circuit of the Kataiya (Bihar)-Kushwa (Nepal) 132 kV transmission line by March 2023. The line towards India will be built by India itself at its own expense. Also was decided to complete the construction of the second circuit of Raxaul-Parwanipur 132 kV transmission line within April-May 2023.

The meeting also decided to complete the necessary work to be done at the Mainahiya (New Nautanwa) substation in India to connect the Mainahiya-Sampatiya 132 kV double circuit transmission line connecting Nepal and Uttar Pradesh of India by September 2023.

Similarly, it has been decided to complete construction of Nanpara (India)-Kohalpur 132 kV double circuit transmission line within January 2024.

A memorandum of understanding with India’s NTPC will soon be signed to provide consulting services and capacity building in the solar and other energy sectors in Nepal. In the meeting, it was decided to cooperate bilaterally in the field of green hydrogen.

The meeting also decided to hold the 11th JSC in Chitwan after six months.

A version of this article appears in the print on February 20, 2023, of The Himalayan Times.

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