Indo-Nepal power transfer link to have major augmentation

Nepal-IndiaSILIGURI: India and its eastern boundary neighbor Nepal, are going to have a major augmentation in the power transfer lines in between on mutual interest. While India is keen on tapping unexplored hydropower from the Himalayan country, Nepal needs power during dry winter season from India.

With high hydropower potential but low output level, severely power starved Himalayan country Nepal is in process of widening the bottlenecking identified as hindrance for the power promoters, mainly from India, to come forward. The country has a set objective to produce 25,000 MW extra hydropower by 2030. According to K D Adhikary, Joint Secretary at Nepal Energy Ministry, the country is streamlining all areas including conflicting acts to fasten the pace of this development. 

But, “Besides producing power, Nepal needs proper evacuation links too to sell it out that can be a economical boon for financially crunched Nepal. With close vicinity, India is one of the best suitable buyers,” said a Nepal power ministry official. 

At the same time, “Nepal is highly hydropower dependent. Thus, needs power from outside during dry season for its own consumption. For that also proper power transfer link is needed,” he added. 

In order to address these needs, both the countries have decided to go ahead together. A statement issued by Indian embassy following just concluded ministry level meeting between the two countries says, “To augment electricity supply from India to Nepal, particularly during the lean season, India has already implemented short-term grid connectivity projects (grant assistance of NRs 124.6 million), resulting in Nepal importing an additional 80 MWs of electricity through 14 different upgraded exchange points in the last lean season.

A further medium-term grid upgradation project (amounting to grant assistance of NRs 464 million) has been tendered. This will enable a further drawing of between 120 – 175 MWs of electricity from India, whenever required. To supplement financing of the long-term cross-border grid connectivity from Muzaffarpur to Dhalkebar, India’s Eximbank is contributing U.S. $13.2 million.”

As learnt, Nepal energy ministry is finalizing its response against a formal proposal on energy cooperation forwarded recently by the Indian government which is being considered as the first step to develop a well structured power Trade Agreement (PTA) between the two countries. Earlier Nepal also sent a proposal to sign Memorandum of Understanding ( MoU) for PTA to India in 2010. But it could not reach implementation stage. 

According to Mr. K B Bisht president of Independent Power Producers Association of Nepal ( IPPAN), a Indo-Nepal PTA will give high momentum to hydropower development in Nepal. Several export-oriented hydropower projects are waiting for that to come up. 

Source : The Economic Times