Power cut to stay till 2015: Energy Minister

KATHMANDU: The Ministry of Energy today ruled out the possibility of lifting load shedding before 2015.

"Even if we move forward with our targets without any hurdles, the nation will not be able to meet the demand for energy before 2015," said Prakash Sharan Mahat, Minister for Energy.

By the end of the Tenth Five Year Plan (2008 -2013), the government had planned to generate 314 MW of electricity. Two years since that promise was made and the government has generated just 39 MW.

"In the last two years we have been able to generate only 39 MW of electricity, which is far low in comparison to demand," added Mahat.

According to the minister, the demand for electricity has far exceeded the supply. He said the demand for electricity is increasing at the rate of 10 per cent annually and to meet the spiralling demand, there is the need to generate 80 MW each year. Already in the pipeline are — Chamelia (30MW), Kulekhani Third (14 MW), Upper Trishuli 3A (60MW), Rahughat (27MW), Upper Tamakoshi (456MW) and Upper Seti (127) — to meet the demand.

There is just one small ray of hope that if everything goes smoothly as planned, the country will have additional 230 MW of electricity by the end of 2012, according to Mahat.

In addition to this, he added saying that the government this year has given the permission for the survey of 2080 MW. Lack of high capacity India-Nepal transmission line is cited as one of the major barriers for the inter-country electricity trading by the investors. The transmission line is going to be constructed by 2012, according to the minister. "Financial arrangements have almost been finalised. The work will start by mid 2009 and end by 2012,"he said.

The high capacity transmission line of 400 KV could transmit up to 1200 MW of electricity between the two countries.

"The problems of transmission capacity will be resolved by 2012 after which the producers could easily transmit the electricity to India or vice versa, if and when needed," explained Mahat. According to him, initially the power will be imported from India to meet the acute shortage in Nepal, and when the larger hydro projects are brought to fruition, then the line would be used to facilitate exports from Nepal.

Some facts & figures

• Demand for electricity up by

10 per cent/year

• 54 MW production permission granted

• Additional 50 MW in the pipeline

• 19 projects signed Power Purchase Agreement in past one year

• Additional 230 MW by 2012

• 130 MW purchased from India

• 39 MW generated in past two years

• 7 licences scrapped for failing to meet condition

• Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur Cross-

Border Transmission line by 2012