KATHMANDU: A joint-secretary-level meeting between Nepal and Bangladesh has proposed a joint venture in one project among two proposed large hydropower projects.
Bangladesh has expressed willingness to import a total of 9,000 megawatts of electricity from Nepal by 2040.
Bangladesh which is searching for a source of energy to cope up with the rising demand at home wants to cooperate with the government and private sectors in Nepal for investment in the hydropower sector here.
The meeting of the joint working group of energy secretaries from both countries has agreed to recommend developing either Khimti Shivalaya or Sunkoshi III project collaboratively.
It may be noted that Bangladesh had proposed to invest in one reservoir-based project in Nepal during the Bangladesh visit by former Energy, Water Resources, and Irrigation Minister Barshaman Pun.
Basing on the same proposal, the Ministry had formed a technical team for the study. Likewise, Bangladesh had floated the issue during the Nepal visits by its President and the Minister of State for Energy, too.
The study panel formed by the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation had proposed the Arun Fourth, Kimathanka Arun, Sunkoshi III, Khimti Shivalaya, and a project in Province 1 for this.
The Joint Secretary level meeting of the two countries held on Monday decided to propose one among the 683-megawatt capacity Sunkoshi III and the Khimti Shivalaya for investment at the government level. The total power generation capacity of the Khimti Shivalaya project is not determined yet.
As per the details, the study of the Sunkoshi III project has reached the final stage. Similarly, the power generation capacity of Khimti Shivalaya will be 1,500 megawatts, according to the preliminary study.
It is suggested that this project should be constructed for generating around 650 megawatts of power as operating it to produce in full capacity would affect the 60-megawatts capacity Khimti Project currently being operated by Himal Power.
Joint Secretary and Ministry spokesperson Madhu Kumar Bhetuwal said the meeting on Monday discussed the topics of exchange in the energy sector, joint investment, and experience sharing on the sector between the two countries.
According to him, the Secretary-level meeting today will make the required decision. This is the third bilateral meeting at the Joint Secretary and Secretary-level.
Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed on August 3, 2018, with the purpose to initiate a bilateral collaboration in the power development sector between Nepal and Bangladesh.
The MoU was signed by the then Energy Minister Pun and State Minister for Power, Energy, and Mineral Resources of Bangladesh, Nasrul Hamid.
The MoU has mentioned to produce power, grid connectivity, power capacity renewal, and to transform mutual benefit to be gained from energy and hydropower development in regional welfare.
Soon after the MoU, the then Energy Minister Pun had made Bangladesh visit and urged the Bangladeshi government and private sector for joint investment in the energy sector.
Encouraging the entrepreneurs of both countries for collaboration in the power sector and investment, making regional and sub-regional level collaboration to immense potentialities of development of hydropower sector of South Asia have also been incorporated in the MoU.
The first meeting of the secretary or joint-secretary level committee was held on December 4, 2018, and a second meeting on June 23, 2019.
It has been expected that the third meeting would address the issues from exploring the possibilities of investment to jointly constructing the projects.