Govt mulling 20 year electricity plan, not a quick fix

KATHMANDU: Instead of working out an immediate solution and giving a respite to the people from the blackouts, the Energy Ministry is busy preparing a 20-year electricity development plan. The country is facing 11 hours of power cut daily.

According to Kishore Thapa, secretary, Water and Energy Commission Secretariat (WECS) who is also the coordinator of the working committee of the plan, the plan is almost final and will be disclosed within two weeks. The ministry had earlier prepared a ten year plan that had outlined 10,000 megawatt of electricity by 2020 but the implementation, as usual in the country, turned a fiasco.

"The ten year plan had not specified the time limits and also the agencies that would bear the production responsibility but this plan will specify all those things and has the work plan for 5,10,15 and 20 years," Thapa said. The plan aims to produce 25,000 MW of electricity by 2030. "This is not baseless because we have prepared the document based on the facts," added Thapa. Thapa maintained that the aim of the plan was not to override the earlier plan but to support it.

Notably, the first hydroelectricity project in the country, Farping Hydropower-500 KW was installed in 1911. In the time span of around a century the country could generate 687.7 MW of electricity that included 53.4 MW from thermal plants and 6.2 MW from micro-hydro projects. Our history is not satisfactory but the next five years are crucial for the sector and if we start our lined up projects it is possible to produce 25,000 MW within the next two decades," claimed Thapa.

But water resources experts in the country are fed up with the piles of plans. "The need of the hour is not a dream document. The past documents were a fiasco too as plans were never implemented, "said Adarsha Pokharel, former Director General, Department of Hydrology and Meteorology.

The ten year plan mentions that 550 projects have filed their application for generating 40,000 MW but the generation of 20,000 MW seemed feasible. "The 20 year plan is based on the realities and is possible," claimed coordinator Thapa.