Power trade agreement should top agenda: Experts

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    KATHMANDU, MAY 26 –

    Energy-Poll-LinesAs the country is expected to produce surplus electricity within the next few years following the completion of a few mega hydropower projects, experts have said the signing power trade agreement with India should be one prime agenda of Prime Minister Sushil Koirala’s visit to the southern neighbour.

    Koirala is scheduled to visit India on Monday to take part in the swear-in ceremony of Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi.

    A power trade agreement enables two countries to trade in power as any other commodities. Both the countries will be able to export energy when they have excess generation and import during deficit.

    As per the Nepal Electricity Authority’s (NEA) projection, Nepal will have excess power after 2017 during non-peak hours.

    Experts said the PTA would also help encourage investors to invest in the hydropower sector by eliminating fears about demand. “Since India is soon getting a new government and Nepal too has got an elected government, it’s high time for pushing the PTA agenda,” said former Finance Minister Shankar Prasad Koirala at an interaction here on Sunday.

    The mega 456MW Upper Tamakoshi Hydropwer Project and a few other projects being developed by Nepal Electricity Authority and some private sector projects are expected to be completed in 2016. “There is only one market, besides Nepal, where we can sell electricity, and that is India,’ said Koirala, who is also former energy secretary.

    Nepal could be a good source of electricity for energy-hungry India, he said. “India hasn’t been able to make proper utilisation of thermal plants and hydropower projects in Assam and Arunanchal, while Nepal is in a perfect place to help India distribute power to its northern belt,” said Koirala.

    Although a draft of the PTA had been exchanged between the two countries a few years ago, there has not been much progress on this front. The PTA will replace the existing Power Exchange Agreement between the two nations wh-ich caps electricity trading.

    According to Koirala, the government has sent a PTA draft to India which has focused mainly on transmission lines for ensuring Nepal-India connectivity, tariff fixation and joint institution management.

    Rajendra Dahal, press advisor to the President, said big hydropower projects may not take off without ensuring the market. He said that if the country is developing projects that can produce surplus energy, signing of a trade agreement on energy with India is a must.

    Soure : The Kathmandu Post