Regional power grid plan
WITH seven nations of South and South East Asia finalising a draft plan to set up grid connections to facilitate trading of electricity, a new horizon opens for power cooperation in the region and beyond. The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec) member nations including Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Bhutan and Nepal can all benefit from trading in hydropower.
Whilst the Bimstec initiative has been around since 1997, it is only now that a draft plan has been agreed upon. Only when the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been inked that member countries can begin work on setting up infrastructure that will bring the immense potential to fruition. Indeed the third Energy Ministers' meeting due in Kathmandu sometime in 2015 is supposed to be when the MoU is signed. With import of power featuring large on Bangladesh's roadmap for energy security leading up to 2030, there is every reason to give impetus to this initiative at the highest policymaking level.
We are hopeful that the Kathmandu meet will lay the foundations for a broad framework that will oversee implementation of grid connections to promote optimal and rational power transmission throughout the region. Once approved, the framework will allow for member countries to trade power as a commodity as per individual country's demands. Hence, we reemphasise the need to expedite the process of bringing the plan from the drawing board on to the ground as there is no time to be lost for the power-starved nations.