By Anil Giri
Kathmandu, Jan 28 (IANS) Nepal and India propose to construct at least six cross-border power corridors to ensure trading in energy between the two close neighbours on a long-term basis.
These 400-kV lines will be constructed on the Attariya-Uttarakhand, Lamki-Tikuniya, Kohalpur-Rupaidiha, Butwal-Gorakhpur, Muzaffarpur-Dhalkebar and Inaruwa-Bihar corridors.
A six-member joint technical team formed to prepare a master plan for such power corridors identified the six points on the Nepal-India border in accordance with the Power Trade Agreement (PTA) signed in 2014.
The energy secretaries of Nepal and India are scheduled to meet in Kathmandu on Wednesday and Thursday to approve the master plan prepared by this technical team, Nepal’s Energy Ministry said here.
Nepal has a huge hydropower potential — theoretically estimated at 83,000 MW — with the perennial nature of Nepali rivers and the steep gradient of the country’s topography providing ideal conditions for the development of some of the world’s largest hydroelectric projects in the Himalayan nation.
India is the closest and natural market for Nepal’s hydel power.
Conservative estimates place Nepal’s economically feasible hydropower potential at approximately 42,000 MW — of which it has developed barely 700 MW.
Officials told IANS that these proposed lines will transmit electricity to India, in addition to the Karnali-Chisapani (10,800 MW) and Pancheshwor (6,720 MW) multi-purpose projects that have their own dedicated transmission lines.
“Synchronisation and installation of energy corridors were the key intricacies of the PTA and we have to set up transmission lines first,” Nepal’s Energy Secretary Suman Sharma, leading the Nepali delegation to the talks, told media persons ahead of the meeting.
Power Secretary Pradeep Kumar Pujari is leading the Indian delegation.
At present, a 400-kV transmission line on the Muzaffarpur-Dhalkebar route is under construction. With its completion, Nepal will soon be able to import 90 MW electricity from India to ease its own power crisis.
(Anil Giri can be contacted at [email protected])