Local groups seek pvt sector help for hydropower projects

KATHMANDU: District level community organizations are showing interest in micro-hydropower projects. The Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FNCCI) has got 10 such proposals seeking support.

“We have got 10 proposals from several districts,” said FNCCI president Kush Kumar Joshi. Hydro Solutions Pvt Ltd is assessing the feasibility of those 10 small hydro projects, he added. FNCCI along with Association of District Development Committee Nepal (ADDCN), Municipal Association of Nepal (MAoN) and Federation of National Village Development Committees (FNVDC) have joined hands to promote micro-hydropower projects across Nepal.

The groups joined hands to promote small and medium – one to five megawatts – hydropower projects at the local level. Together, they are planning to promote at least 45 hydropower projects in 45 hill districts of Nepal, using local capital. According to FNCCI, the total cost of 150 projects will be Rs 21 billion. “We can easily get money if we have good projects,” said Joshi.

“If we wait for government initiatives, there will be no change even in the next 10 years,” said Joshi. According to him, FNCCI has initiated the project seeing the huge potential of using local money in a productive sector. Villagers have 'idle' money and they are searching for investment opportunities, he added. FNCCI hopes to mobilize at least Rs 30 billion from villagers in micro-hydropower sector.

“Three hundred village development committees (VDCs) of 45 districts will be involved in the project,” said ADDCN president Rishi Raj Lumsali. The group will play a catalystic role between investors and the government. It plans to build 1 to 5 MW hydropower projects in one-and-a-half years.

There are lots of policies hurdles in developing micro-hydro like license of most of the rivers have been issued to individuals. However, the government is moving toward facilitating investors to reduce the power crisis. It has abolished the provision of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for upto 10 MW projects and is providing 80 per cent subsidy to hydropower projects under 1 MW capacity.

Nepal has the technical and mechanical capacity to develop hydropower projects up to 12 MW.

Butwal Power Company is producing 12 MW turbines and other equipment for small and medium hydropower projects in Nepal and Bhutan.