Govt Okays Plan to Import 580 MW to end Power Cuts Within Year
KATHMANDU, Feb 19: Acute power cuts are be reduced to a negligible level by this time next year, according to a plan announced Thursday by the government. The plan titled 'The National Energy Crisis Reduction and Electricity Development Decade (2016-2026)' aims to end the energy crisis by importing a total of 580 MW. The country now imports about 235 MW and will add another 80 MW to this by Friday or Saturday, through partial operation of the Dhalkebar-Mujaffarpur Transmission Line. The plan has also set an ambitious target of generating 10,000 MW of electricity within a decade, but many doubt this will be translated into reality as three similar plans in the last seven years turned out to be mere pipe dreams.
A cabinet meeting on Thursday approved the 10-year plan after four months of preparatory work. Speaking at a press meet, Energy Minister Top Bahadur Rayamajhi pledged to fundamentally achieve the target of ending power outages in a year, which is to say there won't be any crisis in electricity supply like today, provided the transmission and distribution system works.
The total supply of electricity will reach 1,576 MW during wet months by the next rainy season while the supply will remain above 1,000 MW in the dry months, according to the time-bound plan. But the plan also aims to bringing 200 MW in a year's time from ongoing projects. The plan is also to generate a combined 100 MW through solar and wind power. The peak hour demand is calculated to reach a little over 1,400 MW by the next 12 months. "It took for us four whole months to devise a workable plan and now it has been endorsed and goes into implementing from today," said Raymajhi, who citied some of his recent measures, including the partial operation of the Mujaffarpur-Dhalkebar Transmission Line and initiaiton of work for setting up the six remaining towers under the Khimti-Dhalkebar Transmission Line project.
The plan also envisions complete elimination of power outage even in the dry months by the next 24 months, or mid-February, 2018. The maximum power demand by that time will be around 1,550 MW. A total of 1,864 MW will be supplied during the dry months towards the end of 2017 or beginning of 2018. The plan aims also to up power generation from solar and wind to 200 MW by that time. The government has, meanwhile, pledged reforms in the services provided to independent power producers through a fast track mode, including for forest and environment clearance. But the plan does not envisage 'single door services' as demanded by the independent power producers to cut delays and discourage corruption. Officials at the Energy Ministry say that the ambitious target of generating 10,000 MW within a decade has been set in line with the current per capita electricity consumption in India, which is around 400 units. The current consumption level in Nepal is 130 units.