Kathmandu, January 4
A study has shown that Rs 204.37 billion – Rs 148 billion for generation and Rs 56.37 billion for transmission, substation – is required to ensure electricity grid connectivity throughout the country within five years.
The findings are based on a study carried out by Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA)’s subsidiary – NEA Engineering Company – with support of National Planning Commission (NPC) over a very short period of just 17 weeks. The apex planning body supported the NEA subsidiary to conduct the study as the government has to allocate the resources to achieve the target of sustainable energy for all by 2030, which is one of the goals under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Unveiling the study report and addressing the validation workshop organised by NEA Engineering here today, Swarnim Wagle, vice chairman of National Planning Commission, said that grid electricity provides constant and optimum voltage, which will help tap the potential of industrialisation, provide opportunity to set up businesses and ensure quality of life, among others.
“Though electricity can be supplied through off-grid systems, we cannot rely on such systems for commercial use of electricity,” said Wagle, adding, “Execution of distributed generation and grid connection across the country will have huge socio-economic impact.”
The study has envisioned to execute distributed generation and grid connection in support of the local level. The study has the complete assessment of the potential clean sources of electricity generation – hydro, solar or wind – in each province.
Arvind Kumar Mishra, member of NPC who looks after the energy sector, said that the distributed generation system will have low transmission loss and the generation system can be developed based on the load demand of each urban and rural municipality. By 2017, only 65 per cent of the population had access to electricity in Nepal.
NEA Managing Director Kulman Ghising said that the report from NEA Engineering, with support of NPC, is the best output in itself in a very short time. According to him, it could take over two-and-a-half years to conduct such a study if it was carried out with assistance of development partners, where the NEA would have to abide by all the procurement rules of the government and the concerned development partners in selecting the consultant for the study.
The NPC, through government-to-government contract, had handed over the task to NEA Engineering, as the company is a subsidiary of the state-owned power utility.
Ghising further said that such an initiative will help NEA a lot to accelerate the projects designed based on the study. Citing rural electrification is not financially viable, he opined that the projects should be designed to be implemented with support of local level governments on cost-sharing basis.
Hitendra Man Shakya, managing director of NEA Engineering and team leader of the study, said the cost of distributed generation projects could be minimised during project execution as the cost of solar has dropped considerably in recent years. He said NEA Engineering had also incorporated the lowest cost estimation (calculating based on tight estimation), optimum cost and mean of the lowest and optimum in the report.