BANGLADESH AGREEMENT: Switching Power

A sigThe announcement by Bangladesh that it will import 40 MW of power from Nepal ushers in a new era of bilateral energy trade between the two nations.

May 17, 2023, 12:05 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: VOL. 16, No. 19, May.26, 2023 (Jestha,12. 2080) Publisher and Editor: Keshab Prasad Poudel Online Register Number: DOI 584/074-75

A significant benefit for secretary Ghimire is the attendance of Kul Man Ghising, Managing Director of the Nepal Electricity Authority. In a same vein, he has a strong staff from both his ministry and NEA.

Dinesh Kumar Ghimire, secretary of energy, water resources, and irrigation, considered the signing of the electricity agreement between Nepal and Bangladesh a momentous occasion. He has been participating in negotiations with Bangladesh regarding regional electric trade ever since he started working in the ministry as a carrier.

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The first agreement for this one was set down by secretary Ghimire back when he was appointed secretary. The moment he signed the contract was historic for him. Every bureaucrat yearned for such a momentous occasion.

Even though the amount of electricity is relatively tiny (up to 40 MW) and insignificant, if this deal is implemented with India's backing, it will have a historic impact on the bilateral relations.

Soft-spoken but extremely intelligent and skilled Secretary Ghimire is a government official who knows how to close deals. With India, Nepal has also entered into a number of electricity trading agreements.

A significant benefit for secretary Ghimire is the attendance of Kul Man Ghising, Managing Director of the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA). In a same vein, he has a strong staff from both his ministry and NEA.

Finding a market for 40 MW is a joyous occasion for MD Ghising, who has been working to boost the volume of electricity exported to nearby nations. The NEA's grid will have over 1000 MW of electricity from the upcoming monsoon session, and it will quadruple the following year.

The role that the Nepalese ambassador to Bangladesh, Ghanshyam Bhandari, has played in supporting the Nepalese team is crucial, despite the fact that he has kept a low profile. Bhandari has pushed for this accord in all official meetings, including his meeting with the prime minister of Bangladesh, ever since he arrived in Dhaka as an ambassador.

In a meeting of the joint directorate committee between the energy secretaries of Nepal and Bangladesh, which was held in Bangladesh, the two countries decided to import 40 megawatts of electricity from Nepal utilizing the Indian transmission line. As a result of this agreement, Nepal and Bangladesh have decided to work together to begin trading electricity during the upcoming wet season, which runs from June to November.

This agreement was signed after the completion of 5th meeting of Joint Steering Committee between the Energy Secretary of Nepal and Bangladesh. In the Nepal-Bangladesh Energy Secretary-level meeting held on Monday and Tuesday (15-16 May), it was also decided to call a tripartite meeting to persuade India to use the transmission line of India.

For this tripartite power sells agreement signed between NEA, NVVN-India and Bangladesh Power Development Board as soon as possible.

In the same meeting, it was decided that there will be joint investment of Nepal and Bangladesh in Sunkoshi-3 hydropower project and the agreement letter will be signed within 6 months The meeting also reviewed the progress made since the 4th meeting & decided to intensify efforts to materialize energy cooperation between NPL and BGD.

According to the spokesperson of the Ministry of Energy, Madhu Prasad Vetwal, a power purchase agreement between Nepal Electricity Authority and Bangladesh Power Development Board also signed. According to Bhetuwal, India’s NVVN and Bangladesh Power Development Board will sign an agreement as soon as possible to export up to 40 megawatts of electricity produced in Nepal to Bangladesh.

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Dinesh Kumar Ghimire, secretary of the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, said that Nepal will first provide 40–50 MW of electricity to Bangladesh, and supply will rise further after a major power plant is completed.

The Government of India has appointed NVVN as the nodal organization for energy exchange with Bangladesh, Nepal, and other nations. NVVN currently handles all electricity import-export transactions between Nepal and India. The Indian side's consent is also necessary for the agreement to be put into effect. However, at the discussion, it was also discussed whether to build a second, dedicated transmission line between Bangladesh and Nepal.

Nepal wants to move forward with trilateral talks with Bangladesh and India in an effort to foster Indian agreement. A tripartite agreement between Nepal, India, and Bangladesh is required, and it was decided at the seventh meeting of the Nepal-India Energy Secretary-level Joint Steering Committee held in India on 18 February 2023, that this will be discussed at a separate meeting the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs will hold in three months. India, meanwhile, has not yet requested such a meeting.

It was also decided to hold a tripartite meeting to convince India to utilize the transmission line of India during the Nepal-Bangladesh Energy Secretary-level conference that was held on Monday and Tuesday.

The Sunkoshi-3 hydropower project will receive joint funding from Nepal and Bangladesh, and the joint venture agreement will be signed within six months between NPL and BPD.

Ghimire, who has spent enormous hours to make deal with India and Bangladesh to export Nepal’s electricity, also proves that Nepal has a good team of bureaucrats of energy trade and negotiators to make the deal.

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