Renewable energy sources get a boost

Kathmandu, June 15:

The European Union hosted a workshop to give details of the progress made in the Renewable Energy Project (REP), being executed by the Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC), in Kathmandu on Thursday.

The overall objective of the REP is to create a renewable energy infrastructure in rural areas, to facilitate income generation, sustainable growth and delivery of social services, eventually alleviating poverty, informs a press release issued by European Commission.

The project is to deliver over 2 megawatt of solar energy, an environmental friendly source of energy, to thousands of communities living in remote areas of the country.

The total project cost is estimated to be EUR 15.675 million. Out of the total expenditure, EUR 15 million is to come from the European Union and the rest EUR 0.675 million from the government of Nepal.

Talking during the programme to announce the launch of the project, Eduardo Lechuga-Jimenez, chargé d’affaires, Delegation of the European Commission to Nepal, said, “The total EU contribution for this energy project is EUR 15 million (about 1.3 billion Nepali rupees). This project is part of the past Country Strategy Programme 2002-2006 with a total budget of EUR 70 million. In the new CSP 2007-2013, the budget will be significantly increased. The first

indicative level is EUR 120 million But it could go up to EUR 150 million if needed and proved possible.”

Pointing to the importance of such projects, he added, “Energy is one of the basic and important infrastructures for the development of the country. The economy of Nepal does not provide sufficient economic bases for the large investment in the hydro power projects targeting remote, inaccessible and isolated areas.”

REP is providing solar energy systems to communities around 300 VDCs in 21 remote districts of Nepal. In order to maximize the impact of the project and ensure the best use of available resources, REP made multifaceted efforts while identifying the target communities, generating awareness regarding energy demand collection, and conducting feasibility studies in the first year of field implementation.

As a part of consultation process aimed at transparency and equal access to information, REP conducted 22 district level workshops.

The principle objective of the workshops was to mobilise communities for energy demand. Following the same principle, REP is conducting a second round of district workshops where up to 400 participants were informed on the process and results from recent field implementation.

172 community organisations are confirmed as REP partners and will be transformed into CESPs through capacity building and supply of energy equipment.

At the, REP will provide PV systems to around 250 schools, 200 health institutions, 200 community centres and 54 PV systems for milling through 30 water pumping PV systems will be disseminated.

These PV systems are robust, substantial in power, tailored to each institution and subscribe to international quality standards. The number of beneficiaries has risen from the initially planned 500,000 to 1,500,000 people.

In addition, REP is supporting solar thermal applications for income generation. To this effect, REP received and processed 123 applications for solar thermal systems: A total of 38 projects: 24 solar dryer and 14 water heater have been found feasible and will receive the REP support.

The programme was attended by finance minister, Dr Ram MAHAT, minister for environment, science and technology, Mahant THAKUR and Eduardo Lechuga-Jimenez, chargé d’affaires, Delegation of the European Commission to Nepal, alongwith a host of heads of development agencies and government officials.