New electricity deal to expand India-Nepal relations | India News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: In a significant move, India has decided to take over the 750 megawatts West Seti hydropower project in Nepal as China has withdrawn from it. The move, which came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Lumbini in mid-May, will enhance the cross-border power exchanges between the two countries.
India is already involved in three different power projects in Nepal. They are the Mahakali treaty to produce 6480 MW which was signed between the two governments in 1995, the Upper Karnali Project and the Arun Three projects in eastern Nepal’s Sankhuwa Sabha to produce 900 MW.
The National Hydro Power Corporation, a state-run Indian company, has already begun preliminary work on the site of the West Seti project. China tried to develop the project for six years before giving it up in 2018. The plan involves building the hydropower project on the Seti river in far-western Nepal.
After it remained on the drawing board for several years, the Nepal government has remodeled the project as West Seti and Seti River joint storage project with the capacity to generate 1,200 megawatts of electricity. At present, the focus is on West Seti with a capacity of 750 MW.
The reservoir will be filled up by monsoon season water. As the dry season approaches, some portion of the water will be drawn to produce electricity.
Power engineers have pinned high hopes on Nepal’s ability to supply vast quantities of hydropower, which has an estimated potential of 83,000 MW. For the Himalayan kingdom, electricity exports to India are expected to become a major foreign exchange earner.
What is encouraging electricity officials is the successful execution of the 900-MW Arun Three project in eastern Nepal’s Sankhuwa Sabha, which is due to be completed in 2023 after five years of work starting in 2018.
Despite its hydropower potential, Nepal also suffers from power shortages for some time every year and relies on supplies from India. It has an installed capacity of 2000 MW leading to a shortfall of 900 MW. It exports as well as imports power to India at different times of the year.
Once the planned multi-purpose hydropower projects take off, there will be a significant rise in electricity supply, bringing down the power rates benefiting both countries, informed sources said.
A wide network of transmission lines at 11kV, 33kV, 132kV and 220kV lines connects the two countries. When it comes to bulk power transfers, the interconnection is conducted through Dhalkebar (Nepal) – Muzaffarpur (India) 400kV D/C transmission line. A total of about 700 MW of power is being supplied to Nepal through these interconnections.
Some sections of public opinion in Nepal have sought a revision of rates for the power sold by the Himalayan Kingdom to India. The pricing is based on how a buy-sell agreement is carried out. The two countries may either opt for market rates by transacting through the power exchange where prices are driven by the supply-demand situation. Alternatively, the two governments enter into formal agreements which stipulate the rates.

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