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Dhaka Monday,  Jun 18, 2018

Hopes To Finalize Invest On Hydro-power In Bhutan in PM’s Visit

Shonchita Shitu

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is setting off towards Bhutan today. This is going to be a vital visit for the country’s energy and power sector after the premier’s recent India visit.

In this 3-day visit of Bangladeshi premier to Bhutan, both countries are set to sign six agreements of cooperation and Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) including finalization of a $1 billion invest on hydro-power in Bhutan.

Bangladesh is likely to invest on hydro-power in Bhutan and the generated electricity will be imported to the country using the land of India. Earlier, Bangladesh had no chance to import electricity directly from
countries like Bhutan or Nepal according to the ‘Guidelines on Cross-border Trade of Electricity’ act that was taken by the Indian government on December 5 of last year. However, importing electricity from Nepal issue
was not fully resolved in the PM’s visit.

Addressing a press conference on yesterday, foreign secretary M Shahidul Haque said that, the MoU would be signed in the upcoming 4th summit of Bayof Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation(BIMSTEC) in Nepal.

Dr. Ahmed Kaykaus, the power secretary said that, the hydroelectric power that is likely to be produced in Bhutan will be imported using India’s land and the country would charge transmission fee and some other relevant charges as we would use their land to transmit the electricity to our country.  It would be a great achievement for a country like Bangladesh to invest on hydro-power in somewhere out of the country, he added.

Bhutan is now generating over 1,500 MW of hydro-power and the biggest hydro-power plant has a capacity of 1,020 MW. However, most of those power plants are built either with the cooperation with India or fully donated by India and the biggest country in hydro-power of Bhutan is also the biggest importer of the generated electricity.

Nepal has a potential of generating 30,000 MW of electricity from hydro power but the country is generating only 800 MW now. India is also keen to develop another outer power hub there as they have already invested in a
few projects in Nepal. Bangladesh is also willing to invest in the power sector of Nepal in single or joint venture approach. Besides, Myanmar is also planning to generate 40,000 MW of electricity from hydro-power and
Bangladesh is also keen to take part with them.

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