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Nepal to export electricity to Bangladesh in four months



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By Modnath Dhakal
Kathmandu, Mar. 20: Nepal is making final preparations to export electricity to Bangladesh within the next four months.
About 200 Megawatt electricity would be transferred physically to Bangladesh by the end of the current Fiscal Year 2020/21, said Minister for Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Top Bahadur Rayamajhi at a programme on stimulation of electricity demand in Nepal organised by Society of Electrical Engineers Nepal (SEEN) in the capital on Friday.
Bangladesh needs more power during wet season when Nepal will have energy surplus, so the country can trade power when it has surplus production.
"The government is in talks with India, Bangladesh and China for electricity export. The dimension of electricity market has changed, we need to give attention to production and emphasise on consumption and export," said Minister Rayamajhi.
According to him, the government had given priority to develop infrastructure needed for the energy export.
"We are studying all the transmission line projects and finding their status, constraints and obstructions. Challenges would be resolved within 3-4 months," he said while stating that the study had commenced as political, land compensation, social and other personal interest constraints had obstructed the transmission line construction for the last one-and-a-half decades.
For instance, Dhalkebar-Mujaffarpur transmission line project was stopped for about six years with just two towers remaining to be constructed, and Narayangadh-Bardaghat Transmission line was obstructed in Dumkibas for about five years.
Stating that the government wanted to move ahead at war footing in developing hydropower and transmission line projects, the Minister said, "Political stability is required for development. But we don't have luxury to wait for the comfortable moment to expedite the projects. We must work during the adversities to lead the country in the path of development."
Secretary at the Ministry of Energy, Water Resource and Irrigation, Dinesh Kumar Ghimire said that the country would soon be in the position of exporting power but priority would be to meet the domestic need as well as to increase it.
According to him, about 700 Megawatt additional energy will be consumed and the peak load of energy will be 2200 MW instead of 1500 MW that is being projected now.
He also said that all equipment required for the Upper Tamakoshi Hydroelectricity Project has arrived in Nepal and the project would be completed within this fiscal year.
"Barhabise-Lapsiphedi-Kathmandu Transmission line is in our priority to consume the energy of Upper Tamakoshi Hydel Project," said Ghimire.

Space for energy consumption
There is a huge space to increase energy consumption in Nepal as the industrial consumption is just 8 per cent against the global standard of 51 per cent.
"We have opposite scenario of less industrial consumption and high domestic consumption which is 80 per cent, about four times higher than the industrial nations," said Shailendra Guragain, Executive Committee Member of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
Industries are not getting enough electricity in absence of transmission lines, said Guragain, who is also the past president of Independent Power Producers Associations in Nepal.
According to him, the Nepal Electricity Authority has signed Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with projects of 6,000 MW capacity while about 22,000 MW projects are ready for PPA.
"Bangladesh had said that it could buy about 9000 MW electricity. We have a great opportunity in the regional power market," he said.
Dr. Biraj Singh Thapa, Assistant Professor at the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Kathmandu University, said that Nepal should gradually move to hydrogen energy. "This green fuel can provide uninterruptible power supply and can help flourish mining industry, vegetable ghee production and many other industrial productions," he said.