I would like to first congratulate the Government of Nepal; Ministry of Energy, Water Resources, and Irrigation; the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA); and all the stakeholders on the successful completion and inauguration of Kushma-New Butwal 220kV transmission line.
I would also like to thank NEA and its project team for their outstanding work in completing a significant portionof the Kaligandaki corridor transmission line which includes the previously completed substations at Dana, Kushma, and New Butwal. We deeply appreciate your efforts in completing this project which was executed during the challenging times of COVID-19 pandemic, in difficult terrain and under complex legal and environmental conditions for right-of-way and tree clearances. We are delighted to note that private sector investment for hydropower development has gained momentum in Kaligandaki river basin with the construction of this transmission line. I understand there are more than a dozen 300-megawatt hydropower projects currently under development, and some have reached an advanced stage of completion.
We acknowledge the progress Nepal is making in cross-border power trade. We believe with the completion of this transmission line, which is connected to the New Butwal substation, one of the proposed points for cross border power trade with India, Nepal will be able to harness its resources for development and contribute to increasing the share of clean energy in the South-Asia region. Additionally, we also anticipate the rapidly industrializing Butwal–Bhairahawa area will benefit from the power supply originating from the Himalayas and the hills.
Allow me to highlight NEA’s exemplary efforts, especially in the case of the construction of the Kushma-New Butwal transmission line. NEA's commitment to ensuring vigilant procurement practices, robust supervision and monitoring, the allocation of adequate resources, and the application of innovative approaches during the implementation of this transmission line is truly commendable. We hope to see these best practices continued in future projects, including the proposed 635 MW Dudh Koshi Storage Hydropower Project.
We are confident that NEA will complete the remaining section of the transmission line corridor from New Butwal to Bardaghat by the first half of 2024. We strongly urge NEA to promptly address any social safeguard related to outstanding payments, as required in the financing agreements for the completed transmission line sections.
Furthermore, we take immense pride in our longstanding partnership with the Government of Nepal in the country’s development, as well as over 50 years of active involvement in the country's energy sector. We have provided support for the recently inaugurated transmission line as part of the SASEC Power System Expansion Project, with the Government of Norway and the European Investment Bank as co-financiers. Within our active portfolio of $3.6 billion, we have committed approximately $960 million to the energy sector, with seven projects currently in various stages of implementation, covering areas such as generation, transmission, distribution, and renewable energy.
ADB remains committed to supporting Nepal's 'Green, Resilient, and Inclusive Development' (GRID) plan, which takes a proactive approach to addressing structural issues and emphasizes long-term green and sustainable growth, climate action, and resilience in the face of multiple risks.
We are glad to be part of this event today and would like to congratulate you all once again.
Arnaud Cauchois is the Country Director of Nepal Resident Mission of Asian Development Bank. Excerpts of his remarks delivered at the of Inauguration of Kushma–New Butwal 220 kV transmission line at Bhumahi, Parasi.