Formed under the aegis of the Nepal-India electricity trade agreement in 2014, the committee has settled on the issues of under-development and proposed cross-border transmission lines.
The 10th gathering of the joint steering committee (JSC) of energy secretaries of India and Nepal met in Kathmandu on Thursday to arrive at an agreement for electricity trade through cross-border transmission and power trade to make hydropower availability and distribution improvements.
Formed under the aegis of the Nepal-India electricity trade agreement in 2014, the committee has settled on the issues of under-development and proposed cross-border transmission lines, the Arun III hydropower and export and import of power electricity.
A press statement following the meeting said that Nepal and India have consented to build mega hydropower projects through a joint venture. According to the understanding, a joint specialized group representing both countries will review the hydropower potential.
The two sided agreed to increase the export and import capacities of the first cross-border Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur 400 KV transmission line from 350 MW to 600 MW.
There is also consent to an additional expansion of the limit of import and export once the Hetauda-Dhalkewar-Inaruwa 400 kV transmission line is operational in December 2023.
Extra transmission line
India will assist in developing the new Butwal-Gorakhpur 400 kV transmission line, the subsequent cross-border transmission line.
Nepal’s electricity authority will organize investments for the project. The gathering also consented to set up a joint venture company to be promotd by the Nepal electricity authority and the Power Grid Corporation (Powergrid) of India by April 2022.
The meeting also agreed to explore the possibility of building a cross-border power transmission line between Nepal and West Bengal in India by a joint specialized group.
Nepal attaches much significance to this infrastructure, especially because it will enable trading power with Bangladesh as well.
Untapped hydropower potential
Nepal remains one of the largest untapped hydropower potential in the world. Yet, but the country figures among the 10 countries with the world’s lowest electricity consumption rates, according to the World Bank. An Indian government supported USD 250 million line of credit to Nepal has been financing infrastructure projects such as highways, airports, bridges and irrigation projects.
The Solu hydro electricity generating project is an example of Indian investment helping both, India and Nepal. The run-of-river hydroelectric power plant built with Indian aid on the Solu River in north-east Nepal has increased the country’s generation capacity of clean power. It has also improved the reliability of the energy system. India built the 132 KV transmission line to feed the electricity generated by the six hydropower projects (called the Super Six) into the national grid.
The Solu corridor transmission line project built with Indian aid is helping light up the region. The project provides electricity to an estimated 3 million people, helping to alleviate the current power shortages in the country. And, when Nepal has excess of power, often coinciding with periods of power drought in vast parts of India, India imports power from Nepal.
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