July 24, 2024, 2:56 am

Bangladesh’s Pursuit To Import Hydroelectricity From Bhutan

  • Update Time : Saturday, March 30, 2024
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Photo: Collected

Desk Report:

In a meeting with King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister Hasan Mahmud expressed Bangladesh’s interest in importing electricity from Bhutan, mentioning ongoing discussions about the potential import of hydropower from Bhutan and the anticipated cooperation of India in the process. Minister Mahmud made these remarks following a courtesy call with HE Wangchuck at a hotel in Dhaka on March 25, 2024.

Previously, during the state visit of Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to India in September 2022, the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi agreed to facilitate the import of electricity to Bangladesh through India. Trilateral discussion among Bhutan, Bangladesh, and India, is underway.

A Tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is in its final stages of development between Bangladesh, India, and Bhutan. This agreement aims to facilitate the joint investment for the construction of a power plant.

The direction of electricity exchange between India and Bhutan varies according to the season. In the summer, Bhutan exports electricity to India, while in the winter, Bhutan imports electricity from India. Particularly during the wet season, there is a significant volume of electricity traded between India and Bhutan. The monsoon season, characterized by increased water levels in Bhutan, results in heightened electricity flows, notably during the months of June, July, and August. However, from August to December, there is a gradual decline in electricity trade due to the onset of winter.

Over the years, exports from Bhutan have seen a notable increase, rising from 1,460.5 GWh in 2000 to 6,182.5 GWh in 2019. Throughout the year, Bangladesh experiences seasonal variations in electricity demand, with fluctuations occurring notably during the winter and summer months, and peaking during the monsoon season. During the winter, there is a marginal decrease in electricity demand in Bangladesh.

This seasonal fluctuation in electricity demand presents a unique opportunity for countries like Bhutan and Nepal, where electricity generation peaks align with the monsoon season due to ample water availability for hydropower generation. The synchronization of peak generation in Bhutan and Nepal with Bangladesh’s peak demand periods creates a conducive environment for energy trade between these nations.

Meanwhile, State Minister for Power, Energy, and Mineral Resources, Nasrul Hamid, articulated on Monday 4, 2024, that Bangladesh and India possess significant opportunities for collaborative efforts in advancing the power and energy sector. During a meeting with the Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh, Pranay Verma, at his ministry office, Minister Hamid disclosed plans to import 9,000MW of electricity from neighboring countries, with progress made in the endeavor to import hydroelectricity from Nepal and Bhutan.

The initiative to import energy from Bhutan underscores a significant opportunity for Bangladesh to meet its growing energy demands in a feasible and sustainable manner. With Bangladesh’s energy consumption on the rise, exploring avenues for energy importation becomes imperative, and Bhutan presents a promising option given its substantial hydroelectric potential. Crucially, the geographical proximity of Bangladesh and Bhutan, coupled with their connection through India, enhances the feasibility of this energy trade arrangement.

Such initiatives foster economic integration and cooperation among neighboring countries, paving the way for enhanced regional stability and prosperity. By leveraging each other’s strengths and resources, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and India can collectively address the challenges posed by energy scarcity and contribute to the overall socio-economic development of the region.

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