Nature has bestowed upon Nepal a great wealth in hydro-power, which if harnessed well, can fulfill our power needs. Actually, the more we tap it, the more we benefit.
In rural areas, the potential for hydro-power generation is immense. However, only a small percentage of it has been extracted so far. If the existing hydro power potential is properly utilized, it can speed up our rural development to a great extent. In order to increase the income of the rural people and to open up avenues for new opportunities at the local level, small hydro-power plants can play a significant role. Such plants, which can be setup at low cost in short time, not only help in meeting the growing demand of power but also assist in flood control and enhancement of irrigation facilities.
They will not only illuminate rural areas but also improve the traditional technology. Also, since the hydro-power help functioning local industries, the rural people will be interested in establishing cottage and small-scale industries which will help generate income and hence meet their daily basic needs. The focus in recent times has been on the extraction of energy in rural areas from the most efficient and pollution free source. In this regard, hydro-electricity generation is appropriate.
Undoubtedly, Nepal Electricity Authority with the assistance from Nepal Government has been carrying the work of electrification for some years. Till now some rural consumers have been provided with electricity through the electricity campaign. Though the rural people getting the electricity supply are very small, the efforts made in this direction is continuing.
For rural electrification, small hydro-power holds an enormous potential in Nepal. In the past, multilateral agencies such as the United Nations Capital Fund and some friendly countries had provided financial and technical assistance for small hydro-power projects though the progress made in this sector is far from satisfactory.
Since the amount earmarked for small hydro-power development projects is inadequate, the participation of the private sector in such projects is of paramount importance. However such sector will be attracted only when the infrastructure development is given the top priority.
Actually, the existence of hydro-power potential is by itself not enough for rural electrification. What is essential is their efficient exploitation.