KATHMANDU: The South Asian Regional Initiative for Energy Integration (SARI/EI) is planning to develop a common grid code for South Asian nations including Nepal, India, Bangladesh and Bhutan. It was announced at a seminar was organized by the Center for Electricity Trade and Facilitation (CETRF) under the Department of Electricity and Electronics School of Engineering, Kathmandu University in collaboration with Energize Nepal.
Voices were raised in various national and international forums for common grid code for electricity trade. However, no agreement has been signed to implement it at regional level.
Prabal Adhikari, Chief of Electricity Trade Division of Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) Prabal Adhikari informed that USAID has prepared a common grid code in consultation with all stakeholders. Adhikari also stated that the USAID is making public the document soon and then process of implementing it will begin. “We are talking about regional energy trade but the grid codes of India, Nepal, Bangladesh and other countries are different. Grid code is crucial for promoting regional power trade,” he said.
He said that after the formulation of a common grid code, there is potential for electricity trade not only between Nepal and India, but also between other countries. “It is golden opportunity for electricity trade as Nepal has committed to zero emission by 2045 and India by 2030,” added Adhikari.
Electricity trade between Nepal and India started by importing 5 MW of electricity from India in 1971. After 50 years Nepal is able to export 364 MW of electricity. “We have already signed an electricity trade agreement with India and agreed on cooperation with India and Bangladesh for energy development. Now we have an agreement for power trade among SAARC nations,” he said.
Nepal currently has the capacity to generate 2130 MW of electricity and is in the process of generating 3150 MW of electricity. He informed that NEA is conducting electricity trade with India through government-to-government agreement, competition and mutual consent.
Speaking on the occasion, Secretary of the Water and Energy Commission Dinesh Ghimire said that there is potential for inter-country trade along with domestic consumption. Stating that efforts for electricity trade have been made for a long time, he said that it has been giving many positive messages in recent times.
He said that infrastructures for electricity trade are also being developed and there is a possibility of additional electricity trade through the existing infrastructures. He emphasized the need for shared access to electricity trade among SAARC nations.
Khadga Bahadur Bista, chief executive officer of the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) Nepal, which has been supporting electricity trade infrastructure, said that the recent increase in electricity trade was positive, adding that emphasis should be laid on developing and improving infrastructures. He said that the transmission line to be constructed by Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) would be a great support to the internal and external electricity trade.
Ashish Garg, vice-president of the Independent Power Producers Association (IPPA), suggested that the involvement of the private sector in electricity trade be increased, adding that the private sector was ready for it.