By Santosh Ghimire
New Delhi, Sep 22: Nepal exported electricity worth over 56 million U.S. dollars to India in nearly four months, the country’s National Electricity Authority (NEA) said on Wednesday.
Kulman Ghising, the executive director of the state-owned power utility, said that Nepal exported power valued at 7.19 billion Nepali rupees (56.19 million U.S. dollars) to India from early June to mid-September.
Since June this year, Nepal started selling more electricity to India following consensus between the two governments.
As per the current plan, Nepal hopes to earn more than 30 billion Nepali rupees (234 million dollars) in the fiscal year 2023-2024 by selling electricity to India, according to Ghising.
The earning that Nepal has made from power export is contributing to maintain adequate foreign currency reserves and reduce trade deficit with India, authorities said here.
Nepal had a power deficit for a long time, but it started generating surplus electricity after the country’s largest 456 megawatts (MW) Upper Tamakoshi Hydroelectric Project started to generate electricity in July last year.
According to the negotiations between Nepal and India, the Indian government allowed Nepal to sell electricity in the Indian market through a competitive bidding in November 2021. Now, Nepal can export 364MW of power generated by six hydropower projects in the country.
Electricity has emerged as a key export item of Nepal and it is cooperating with India for the same. Neighbouring India has been Nepal’s only viable market for electricity trade so far.
There have been a few rounds of talks between Nepal and Bangladesh for power trade in recent months, for which India is expected to help facilitate building cross-border transmission lines.
Nepal-India energy sector cooperation has gained momentum in recent years. In mid-September, Nepal’s foreign secretary Bharat Raj Paudyal and his Indian counterpart Vinay Mohan Kwatra held a comprehensive review of bilateral cooperation and energy cooperation was high on the agenda of their talks. The export of surplus electricity from Nepal to India was also discussed during the meeting.
Power sector cooperation has been one of the key areas that the two countries have given priorities in recent months. A major development during the Nepali Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba’s visit to New Delhi last April was the adoption of the Joint Vision Statement on Power Sector Cooperation between Nepal and India.
As per the consensus reached at the highest level, Nepal Investment Board under the Nepali government had signed a pact with India’s NHPC Limited to develop two hydroelectric projects- West Seti (750 megawatts) and Seti River-6 (450 megawatts) – in the far western region of Nepal in the third week of August.
India has been Nepal’s largest trade partner. The volume of bilateral trade reached over Nepali rupees 976.78 billion during the last eleven months of the fiscal year 2020-21 with imports from India amounting to Nepali rupees 886.59 billion and exports to India standing over Nepali rupees 90.19 billion, according to official figures.
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