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Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) on Tuesday launched an energy conference in Bangladesh capital seeking effective ways for integrated power management among regional nations through enhanced cooperation.

“The BIMSTEC is working on connecting about 3,000 kilometre-long power grid from Myanmar-Thailand to India,” Bangladesh prime minister’s energy affairs advisor Tawfiq-E-Elahi Chowdhury said opening the event.

“(The proposed) grid connectivity among the (BIMSTEC) nations could ensure capacity or load factor utilisation through complementing each other on the basis of the member countries’ energy demand and supply status,” he added.

The connectivity will also enhance the efficiency of the energy by reducing the electricity cost for the consumers and ensure uninterrupted quality electricity supply for industrial and commercial sectors maintaining stability in the power sector.

Talking to newsmen later on the sidelines of the conference, he said two of the BIMSTEC members, Nepal and Bhutan, have high hydropower potentials, but the countries face power deficiency during the lean seasons.

Chowdhury said Bangladesh could supply power to the two countries during the time of their need and in exchange import their hydropower during the monsoon.

He, however, said fluctuation of Bangladesh’s existing power transmission and distribution network currently appeared to be barrier for electricity swapping with other countries but “we are trying to improve the transmission and distribution network.”

Besides, the journey towards building regional energy integration, will help build an integrated system and economic zone in this region reducing the inter-conflict among the member state of the organisation, Chowdhury said, adding when the countries are inter depended on each other, the conflict is reduced in a great extent.

Noting that no political issue is permanent, he said, “We want that Myanmar should resolve the Rohingya crisis. I believe, once the disputes between Bangladesh and Myanmar are settled, we could take the power grid connectivity to Thailand from Myanmar”.

BIMSTEC secretary general M Shahidul Islam delivered the welcome address in the inaugural function while mission director of USAID, Bangladesh, Derrick S Brown spoke, among others.

Project director of the South Asia Regional Initiative for Energy Integration (SARI/EI) Pankaj Batra gave vote of thanks.

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