Call for firm political pledge to develop hydropower


Private hydropower developers in the country have sought firm commitments from the political parties to prioritise sustainable hydropower development as an important development infrastructure to reduce the ongoing power crisis in the country.

During a discussion held on Thursday over a draft of the Hydropower Development Strategy for Nepal, prepared by Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), developers and experts said that despite the ongoing political instability, it is high time for all parties to show a strong political commitment towards creating a favourable environment to promote the hydropower sector in the country. According to Uttam Kunwar, energy and environment expert at the Energy Efficiency Center (EEC) under the FNCCI, a lack of willingness from the major political parties to develop hydropower projects and resolve the growing power crisis in the country has severely affected both local and foreign investment and has resulted in inadequate attention from the concerned bureaucratic system to formulate proper policies and programmes.

“The main objective behind the preparation of the hydropower strategy is to ensure that Nepal’s hydropower potential is the main focus of the country’s economic development in the foreseeable future among the political leadership,” said Gyanendra Lal Pradhan, chairperson at the EEC and a private hydropower developer.   

The FNCCI, with technical support from the Hydro Focus Pvt Ltd, an international consulting firm specialising in sustainable development of renewable energy projects, drafted the hydropower strategy for Nepal, which is currently under discussion among the various concerned stakeholders.  The major objective of the strategy draft is to set a hydropower development strategy for Nepal to serve as the basis for the FNCCI to initiate discussions among political leaders, industries, commercial businesses, NGOs and donors in Nepal to reach broader consensus on a sector strategy and the implementation approach.

The draft will be further discussed among concerned actors on February 14 to get input and feedback before finalising the strategy in the second week of April, said Kunwar. As per the drafted strategy, there is a need for more storage projects to provide base load support and also provide multi-purpose benefits in areas such as irrigation. Similarly, various short-term plans are included in the draft, like bringing in two existing thermal plants with a capacity of 40MW into service immediately, completing the construction of the Kataiya-Kusaha cross-border 132kV transmission line by early 2013 and the installation of additional thermal plants up to possibly 200MW through the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA)’s purchase, rental or in cooperation with the private sector.

With the planned addition of around 1,375MW of hydropower by 2017 (based on concluded projects and projects under construction), a capacity deficit in the 2017 dry season of around 900MW is still expected. Similarly, at present around 24 percent of the currently installed hydropower capacity is owned by Independent Power Producers (IPPs) and the development of the 1,375MW projects comprises of 37 percent by IPPs, 53 percent under the NEA’s subsidiaries and 10 percent the NEA itself.


Posted on: 2013-01-18 08:47