Kathmandu, May 8
The government is planning to issue a tender of the 1,200-megawatt (MW) Budhigandaki reservoir hydropower project within the next fiscal year.
The Pushpa Kamal Dahal-led government had handed over the Budhigandaki project to China Gezhouba Group Company (CGGC) in November 2017 after the then energy minister Janardan Sharma had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in June 2017.
The project was supposed to be developed in engineering, procurement, construction and financing (EPCF) model, with the CGGC generating the required funds for the project. However, the subsequent government led by Sher Bahadur Deuba had scrapped the contract with CGGC after the deal landed in controversy.
Issuing a 125-point white paper here today, Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation (MoEWRI) unveiled its plans for the Budhigandaki hydropower project.
Releasing the white paper, Minister for MoEWRI Barsha Man Pun said that ministry has set the slogan of ‘Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali’ for ‘Energy and Water Resources Decade’, which is being marked as the period between 2019 and 2029.
Through the white paper, MoEWRI has announced of its plans to formulate an Integrated National Water Resources law for development, protection, management, regulation and integrated coordination of water resources. Likewise, the ministry is going to study river basin projects and come up with a masterplan within the next three years.
Meanwhile, to develop reservoir projects, the ministry will formulate the modality for benefit-sharing with lower riparian. The white paper has stated that the government will amend the Electricity Act, Nepal Electricity Authority Act and will formulate the Renewable Energy Development Act. Likewise, the government will formulate Electricity Regulation Commission as per ‘Electricity Regulation Commission Act-1990’ as soon as possible.
In addition, government will work on increasing per person energy consumption to 700 units (kilowatt hours) within five years and to 1,500 units within 10 years in line with the expansion of the energy sector.
Likewise, ministry has said that the country will be self-sufficient in energy within the next three years. To achieve this goal, the government will take necessary actions for timely completion of under-construction projects, upgradation of existing ones and installation of new transmission lines and reduce electricity leakage.
In addition, the ministry has set a new target to complete Bheri-Babai Diversion Multipurpose Project by fiscal 2021-22. Likewise, MoEWRI is also planning to develop the 10,800-MW Karnali-Chisapani mega reservoir project, which will export electricity to neighbouring countries.
The government is targeting to generate additional 3,000 MW of electricity in the next three years, 5,000 MW in next five years, 10,000 MW in 10 years and 15,000 MW in 15 years in collaboration with Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) and the independent power producers (IPPs).
The white paper has also incorporated ‘One Province, One Mega Project’ strategy, which aims to build a mega hydro or solar project in each province. Likewise, the ministry is also looking to mobilise resources through general public.
Moreover, for long-term benefit of the nation, the government will build a parallel 400/765 kV high-voltage transmission line along the East-West Highway and Pushpalal Mid-hill Highway. And additionally, the government will instal river basin North South 400 kV high voltage transmission line.
The government has also set its sight on completing the second cross-border 400 kV Butwal-Gorakhpur high voltage transmission line within four years, while construction of Duhabi-Purnia, Lamki-Bareilly and Kohalpur-Kakhnau (400 kV each) high voltage transmission lines will be initiated.
The government is planning to complete the construction of 400 kV high voltage Galchhi-Kyirong transmission line in next five years.
The energy ministry has unveiled seven such white papers since 2001. However, it has had little to show till date in terms of major progress.
Against this backdrop, Minister Pun today acknowledged meeting all the targets set in today’s white paper is ‘complex’ and ‘challenging’. “However, we are committed to achieving the set goals.”
A version of this article appears in print on May 09, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.
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