Bangladesh plans to invest in another hydropower project in Nepal in a bid to boost its share of imported and clean energy.
The 683MW project, Sunkoshi-III, will have its dam at Lubhughat in the Sunkoshi River on the confluence of Ramechhap and Kavre. The dam will be 160m wide and 180m high.
In a field visit to the project site on Friday, Bangladesh Ambassador to Nepal Salahuddin Noman Chowdhury said the government is "positive" about investing in Sunkoshi-III project, reports The Himalayan Times.
Bangladesh already has finalised a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Nepal to import 500 megawatts of electricity from the proposed 900MW run-of-the-river hydroelectric power plant – Upper Karnali Hydropower Project – which is supposed to be developed by India's GMR Group.
The state-owned lone electricity buyer, Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) plans to draw electricity from this project from 2026.
Besides these, Dhaka has chalked out plans to take the local private power producers to Nepal for investing in the hydropower projects there.
Earlier in June, Engineer Mohammad Hossain, director general of the Power Cell, the policy research wing of the Power Division, told The Business Standard that the Power Division had been considering both government-to-government and private investments in hydro projects in the Himalayan country.
"Some private power producers, such as Summit and United, have experience in implementing large power projects with 400MW to 500MW capacity. We have talked to them and found their responses to be good," he added.
Currently, Bangladesh imports 1,160MW power from India through Baharampur-Bheramara and Tripura-Cumilla cross-border grid lines.
The country needs higher power cross-border transmission lines as it has a target of increasing the share of imported electricity by up to 40% by 2041 in the energy mix when the total generation capacity will reach 60,000MW.
At present, the country generates 52% of electricity using natural gas, 32% using liquid fuel, and 8% using coal, while the remaining 8% comes from imports.
Meanwhile, during the site visit on Friday, the Bangladesh envoy was accompanied by the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) Executive Director Kulman Ghising and officials of the Nepalese Energy Ministry.
NEA Executive Director Ghising told the media that there had been frequent talks with the Bangladesh government from the Nepalese side to start work on the hydropower project.
"We've had talks with the Bangladesh government to start the project and we will soon have a team of technicians from the country here," he said.
"There were also talks to include India in the project. As big projects like Sunkoshi-III have double benefits of tourism as well as hydropower, it's desirable that we complete such projects as soon as possible," Ghising added.