Kathmandu, October 5
The Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture and Water Resources has directed the Ministry of Energy (MoE) to conduct a study on energy demand of the next 10 years.
The instruction was issued at a time when the country has been facing severe shortage of petroleum products due to protests in the Tarai and irregular supply from India, the sole petroleum supplier for Nepal.
“The ministry should carry out the study of present energy demand and energy demand of the next 10 years and submit the report to the committee as soon as possible,” said the parliamentary committee.
Nepali households meet 76.97 per cent of the energy demand by tapping traditional sources, such as wood, animal dung and agricultural residue, says the Economic Survey 2014-15. Another 20 per cent of the energy needs are met using coal, petroleum products and electricity, while 3.03 per cent of the energy demand is met through renewables, such as solar and wind energy.
However, lately, dependency on petroleum products has been increasing rapidly because of prolonged loadshedding hours. So, most of the factories and business houses are using diesel-powered generators to run their machinery or manage operations.
The use of petroleum products could be reduced drastically if the country could tap its water resources and build giant hydroelectric plants. But things are moving at a snail’s pace.
As of last fiscal, Nepal was generating only 752.45 megawatts of electricity through water resources, whereas peak demand stood at 1,291.10 MW. Worst still, energy generation through water resources increased by mere 84.60 MW in the last five years, whereas number of electricity consumers in the same period soared by 50 per cent to 2.79 million.
During today’s meeting, the parliamentary committee also directed the Investment Board Nepal (IBN) to submit a report explaining reasons that are causing delay in implementation of hydroelectric projects administered by the IBN. The committee has asked IBN to submit the report within a week.
The IBN has so far signed project development agreements with developers of 900 MW Upper Karnali and 900 MW Arun 3 hydroelectric projects.
The committee has also asked the IBN to submit a report on impact that Upper Karnali hydroelectric project will create on downstream irrigation projects, such as Rani, Jamara and Kuleria.
“If the report has not been finalised, an update must be submitted within seven days,” said the committee, which also sought information on shares that are being extended to locals residing in the vicinity of Arun 3 project site.
A version of this article appears in print on October 06, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.