Energy experts hopeful of signing PTA with Modi-led govt

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    KATHMANDU, May 26 :

    Energy-Poll-LinesEnergy experts say Nepal´s long awaited dream of selling electricity generated in the country to India could materialize with the formation of new government under Narendra Modi.

    Speaking at an interaction on water resources and hydropower development in Kathmandu on Sunday, former finance minister Shankar Prasad Koirala said India is power hungry and the country needs more power to achieve the economic growth as envisioned by PM elect Narendra Modi. He also said the long awaited Power Trade Agreement (PTA) with India is likely to happen soon. 

    The interaction was organized by Outline News Service — an online news portal. 

    Koirala´s argument is backed by the fact that India´s effort to generate thermal power is not becoming effective. Though the country has focused on hydropower development, major projects sites are in the remote northern states like Himanchal and Arunanchal. As the load centers are in southward areas, these projects won´t be of much help for the southern neighbor.

    Though Nepal had forwarded the proposal on signing Memorandum of Understanding on PTA with India in 2010, it is yet to get response from the Indian side. Indian leaders and bureaucrats, during their Kathmandu visit, often say they want to buy energy from Nepal. But they are yet to translate their words into reality. 

    Koirala said Nepal should focus on three key issues while signing PTA with India. Ensuring connectivity by instituting cross country transmission line, import/export of electricity and setting tariff rates independently, and instituting a bilateral mechanism for trading of electricity are the three issues that should be focused on while signing PTA.

    He also said issues of sharing water and floods sideline hydropower agenda in the meeting of Nepal-India Joint Committee on Water Resources (JCWR). 

    JCWR is a secretary-level bilateral meeting that dwells on issues of water, its uses and energy. 

    Nepal is desperate to sign PTA with India as foreign developers and investors are waiting for the bilateral agreement to be signed to ensure the market for electricity generated in the country.

    About a dozen projects, having capacity of 100 MW or more, targeting the Indian market are in different phases of study. They are desperately waiting for the southern neighbor´s response on the PTA proposal.

    Senior journalist Rajendra Dahal also underscored the need for PTA with India for hydropower development in Nepal. “Prime Minister Sushil Koirala should keep PTA at the top of his agenda during his India visit,” said Dahal.

    He also shed light on several mega projects, from Arun III to West Seti, which couldn´t materialize because of the lack of market as domestic market alone couldn´t consume energy generated by those projects.

    Source : Republica