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  Regional energy trade, cooperation sought

Aiming for interconnected energy junction for economic growth through cross-border power transmission lines between Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Myanmar, the concerned stakeholders of the said countries have sought setting up of a new type of energy trading.

During a discussion held here on Wednesday, the participants highlighted some similar key characteristics of the region, including rapidly growing energy demand, significant seasonal complementarities and large but unevenly distributed primary energy potential mostly coming from hydropower.

They also identified some challenges to the region’s electricity systems. For instance, electricity supply is irregular and has been unable to keep up with the demand.

Inefficient, costly and pollution intensive power sources have also increased the transmission losses, the participants said, adding that effectively addressing these challenges require crossborder energy trading.

Ashish Garg, general secretary of Independent Power Producers’ Association – Nepal (IPPAN), informed that the concerned stakeholders agreed on the need to arrange necessary framework to establish cross-border power connectivity between the aforementioned countries. In this regard, the meeting recommended encouraging specific cross-border power projects between Indian sub-regional countries and Nepal based on specific advantages involved, joint benefits and costs of generation capacities, he informed.

Emphasising multiple economic, social and environmental benefits of increased cross-border energy cooperation and cross-border energy trade, the participants stressed on the need to expand power trade between Nepal and Myanmar with India as a transit country. “This level of connectivity can bring significant benefits in terms of incentives to produce and price power efficiently and flexibly by Nepal,” said Garg.

Moreover, the participants suggested putting in place an effective cross-border institutional body to coordinate among national regulatory mechanisms of member states. But in the long run, it would require additional efforts to harmonise access rules, develop protocols for grid management especially ensuring minimum grid code and establishing favourable and non-discriminatory transmission charges, they said.

They also underscored the need for proper functioning of South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation framework, Bhutan, Bangladesh, India and Nepal framework, among others, for robust regional trade and cooperation — including energy trade — between various authorities.

The discussion programme was jointly organised by IPPAN and Confederation of Indian Industry and Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia. The programme was participated by representatives from the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, Nepal Electricity Regulatory Commission, Embassy of India in Nepal, Japanese Embassy in Nepal, Japan International Cooperation Agency, International Finance Corporation, International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development and Asia Foundation.

[Feb 6, 2020 / thehimalayantimes.com]   
 
 
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