Although the government has made significant strides in power generation, a large number of people in Bangladesh are still living in the dark. The current electricity production is insufficient to meet the ever-growing demand.
Now the government is planning to import power from the neighbouring country to meet the local demand and expand trade and commerce.
The Saarc countries are trying to start cross-border power trade. As part of the initiative, Bangladesh is planning to import 9,000 megawatt of electricity from India, Myanmar, Nepal and Bhutan by 2041, Power Division sources said.
They added Bangladesh is also interested in joint investment in hydroelectricity projects in these countries. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has already approved $1 billion for investing in hydroelectricity in the neighbouring countries.
Bangladesh is in talks with India, Nepal and Bhutan. Works on a joint Bangladesh-India power plant is also underway, from where Dhaka will purchase electricity.
Power Cell Director General Mohammad Hossain said electricity was essential for Bangladesh’s development. “Electricity produced domestically will not be enough. That is why the government is considering importing power from the neighbours,” he said.
“A long-term plan has been undertaken for this purpose. It will not only bring in electricity but also strengthen the neighbours’ commercial ties,” Hossain added.
Power import will rise to 1,200MW within 2020. Gradually the amount will rise to 5,000MW in 2030 and 9,000MW in 2041.
A Power Division official has said that Bangladesh is going to jointly invest in Bhutan’s 1,125MW Kuri 1 hydropower project. India, Nepal and Bangladesh will be the project’s equal partners.
Bangladesh could also become part of several other power projects in that country. Jica is currently surveying these projects, the official said.
The Power Division said that Bangladesh would import 500MW power from Bhutan’s GMR project. The talks are in the final stages. The GMR is constructing the 900MW Upper Karnali plant.
Dhaka is also trying to import electricity from other power plants in Bhutan.
Meanwhile, Myanmar has the potential to produce 40,000MW hydroelectricity. The country is currently trying to set up a 10,000MW plant.
This article was first published on banglatribune.com