Vision to tap hydro-power lacking

Kathmandu, August 29:

The Nepal Electricity Authority has recently increased load-shedding hours throughout the country. But energy experts say that consumers are facing hours of load-shedding because of the absence of vision and strategies to harness hydropower potentials in a proper way.

The installed capacity of hydropower plants in Nepal is 617.28 MW at present. But power

generation from these plants is only 530 MW as of August 26.

Speaking at a seminar on ‘Load-shedding in Nepal: Its implications to the economy and consumers’ organised by Centre for Economic Development and Administration (CEDA) here today, water resource analyst Ratna Sansar Shrestha, said: “Hydropower plants are not running to their full capacity. The problem is mainly seen in NEA’s run-of-river projects like Marshyangdi, Trishuli and Kali Gandaki.”

NEA imposed the longest load-shedding hours, 46.5 hours a week, in its history in February this year. NEA has been providing electricity to 31 per cent of total population.

Saying that power demand was growing by 10.76% every year, Shrestha urged the policy makers to immediately devise plans for more energy generations. He also said none of hydropower projects in the country were completing on stipulated time because of strategic failure during the planning stage of the projects.

Commenting on NEA’s claim of creating power surplus by 2013/14, Shrestha said: “By then

the peak demand of electricity will have been 1141 MW while the total generation capacity will be 1493.48 MW. Even if the projects are completed on stipulated time, they will yield just 750 MW during dry season.”

He suggested the government to make a policy to develop as many hydropower projects with domestic investment and encourage projects generating energy as per their installed capacity throughout the year.

“NEA could have made a net profit of Rs 761 million if there was no load-shedding. Instead, it had to face Rs 2.07 billion of revenue loss,” he added.

Dipak Gyawali, former minister-Ministry of Water Resources, said energy generation in the country was being affected because of management and structural failure. “Though electricity is mainly linked to the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Industries and Commerce, it is placed under Ministry of Water Resources. This has made concerned authorities mere spectators. As a result, power generation is never prioritised by the concerned government agencies,” he added.