BIMSTEC experts begin outlining regional power grid strategy

  • Staff Correspondent, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2020-02-25 19:17:47 BdST

Experts from the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation or BIMSTEC have begun discussions to outline a strategy to create a regional power grid.

The two-day conference aimed to increase cooperation in energy kicked off on Tuesday at BIMSTEC Secretariat in Dhaka.

“Today we’re discussing how to connect the grid,” the Prime Minister's Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Advisor Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury said on the inaugural day of the conference.

“If we can set up connectivity in the 3,000 km area of the region, then it will enhance the capacity of all the regional countries. Increased capacity means lower cost for the consumers."

 The import and export business will open up more once the power grid in the regional countries are connected, said the advisor.

Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, the energy adviser to the prime minister, attends a conference on enhancing energy cooperation in the BIMSTEC region as chief guest on Tuesday. Photo: Mahmud Zaman Ovi

Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, the energy adviser to the prime minister, attends a conference on enhancing energy cooperation in the BIMSTEC region as chief guest on Tuesday. Photo: Mahmud Zaman Ovi

"For example, if we import hydropower from Nepal, they can supply us during summer and monsoon when we have higher demand and they have higher production. On the other hand, we can export power to them in winter when they have high demand."

"We can utilise the power capacity and load factor completely if we can complement each other this way.

"We want quality power ensured for our commerce and industries; we want good voltage and uninterrupted power supplies. The standards will go up if we can create interconnectivity," added Tawfiq-e-Elahi .

He called for exploring the opportunities to invest in power production.

Interconnectivity of the grids will enable the countries in the region to import or export power according to their needs, said BIMSTEC Secretary General M Shahidul Islam.

"It means a country will be able to both import and export according to its needs. If it needs to import power in winter and export in summer, it can."

Guests unveil a report at a conference on enhancing regional energy cooperation at the BIMSTEC Secretariat in Dhaka’s Gulshan on Tuesday. Photo: Mahmud Zaman Ovi

Guests unveil a report at a conference on enhancing regional energy cooperation at the BIMSTEC Secretariat in Dhaka’s Gulshan on Tuesday. Photo: Mahmud Zaman Ovi

Beside the distribution of power, the experts also discussed the strategy for power production, said Shahidul.

"It will be easier to invest in power production if the regional grid interconnection is big. The investment may come from the region or beyond.”

The secretary general highlighted the signing of memoranda of understanding between seven countries in 2018 to establish the ‘BIMSTEC grid interconnection.’

“It reflected the strong political will of the countries. The next step is to discuss the technical side for implementing the MoU clauses,” he said.   

A ‘BIMSTEC grid interconnection committee’ comprised of experts in the power sector in member countries has been formed, he said, adding the committee will meet shortly.

BIMSTEC and South Asia Regional Initiative for Energy Integration jointly organised the conference titled ‘Increase Cooperation  in the Energy Sector in BIMSTEC Region.’

Seven member states of BIMSTEC and other invitees will take part in the four working sessions of the conference.