Energy miseries in Nepal
The recent blockade completely tore apart Nepal’s energy planning and policies. With a series of past blunders, Nepal presently finds itself in a fix. Nepal’s mistake in pursuing highly unreliable low head HPP model and fantasizing about the mercies of huge Indian grid as its market as well as its back-up for its demand-supply reliability has become the main reason for its energy miseries. By relying on others, it’s very rare to achieve energy independenc, and it’s a bitter fact.
Electricity as we know has a unique characteristic. Whatever may be the potential difference and availability of power, unless the loop is complete there is no current. This fundamental knowledge of electricity has answers to many of Nepal’s problems. Unnecessary power and high potential influences can be subdued and avoided, provided one shows guts to disconnect the unnecessary loops. Indo-Nepal open boarder is one of such unnecessary loops that needs to be disconnected urgently. This simple fact has the biggest leverage point in pursuing Nepal’s true independence.
Head and discharge in hydro-power equation are inversely proportional. Increasing head by 10 times, discharge automatically reduces to 1/10 for the same amount of power generation. This analogy is applicable anywhere and it gives us the clue how Nepal can control its currency drain and trade deficit through energy business. Nepal has simply two choices; either use maximum possible head or use maximum discharge. Unfortunately, Nepal so far allowed use of maximum discharge and the result of which we have witnessed already. It seems our low head attitude everywhere is the reason for our failures.
Water mass in a river belongs to nature first. Human beings can use portions of it for irrigation, drinking water and for energy purposes provided that significant amount is left intact to avoid ecological degradation and consequent biodiversity adversity. But using over 90 per cent of river water and giving dry rivers and unacceptable ecological degradation is a planned hydro scam legally by few of the mighty Nepalese exploiting national resources for their personal gains. This again takes us back to Nepali waters in bulk realization at different elevations and not individually in different segments of a river. This approach requires a few stable north-south corridors where reliable high head water-ways channels in bulk can be constructed.