Energy village in offing

Kathmandu, July 22:

The scantily-lit and sparsely populated hilly villages across Baglung are expected to illuminate by 2009, if a plan to turn the district into a model energy village succeeds.

According to Rural Energy Development Programme (REDP), several micro-hydro projects are being set up to generate more than one mega watt hydro-power — the largest quantity generated under one programme in a district — in Baglung within this year.

The idea may be a milestone in meeting rising energy crisis and reducing dependency on fossil fuel while the mega projects could be developed for energy exports and the micro projects for rural consumption.

“Detail feasibility study has been carried out in some of these pocket areas for the Urja Upatyaka (Energy valley) in Baglung to develop mini-grid by inter-connecting all the micro hydro systems to each other and their eventual connection to national grid,” says REDP.

After the successful completion of this initiative, works for the development of mini-grid in other pockets would be carried out. Baglung is the model district for the promotion of rural energy systems, particularly the micro hydro.

As several micro hydro schemes have been developed in some natural geographical areas, the concept of development of Urja Arc, Urja Upatyaka, Urja Strip and Urja Gaon — energy valley, energy belt, energy village — has emerged as a new dimension that proves that if planned deliberately and specifically to meet the rural energy needs, the decentralised rural/renewable energy systems could fulfill the objectives, relieving the necessity of extension

of national grid into the area.

The other programmes, mainly the Mini Grid Support Programme (MGSP) of ESAP/AEPC is also going to generate as much electricity in Baglung district till 2009, making Baglung district a mega Power district through micro hydros.

From September, 2007 the REDP is being implemented under its third phase as a project of the government with joint funding of United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank till 2010 with the expansion of the programme to 15 more districts making a total of 40 programme districts.

Under its first phase of implementation, the programme succeeded to support for the

installation of 107 Micro Hydro Demonstration Schemes (MHDSs) in some 100 remote village development committees (VDCs) of 15 districts that generate some 1800 kW electric power.

“At the same period, through the assistance and facilitation of the REDP, some 53 numbers of Pico hydro/Peltric-sets were installed in those programme VDCs that generated some 170.2 kW of electric power,” says Thakur Devkota, deputy programme manager and senior energy advisor at the REDP.

Thus, under its first phase of implementation, altogether 160 micro hydro schemes (107 MHDS and 53 Pico hydro/ peltrics) were installed generating a total of 1970.2 kW directly benefiting some 18,918 households in the remote villages.