Power Summit puts spotlight on Nepals 10000MW in 10 yrs goal
- BIBEK SUBEDI, Kathmandu
Dec 16, 2016- Nepal is on track of energy sufficiency—for both household and industrial consumption—and can produce as much as 10,000MW in the next 10 years, if the policy environment remains stable. Although the installed capacity of hydropower projects that have come online to date is negligible compared to domestic demand, Nepal can have energy surplus if the under-construction and under-consideration projects are completed by the scheduled date.
Currently, hydropower projects of installed capacity of around 850MW are online, while under-construction projects with installed capacity of over 3,000MW are scheduled to generate electricity within next few years. Similarly, projects with installed capacity of over 5,000 MW to be developed by the national and international developers are under consideration. Going by these figures, production of 10,000MW in next 10 years as envisioned by the government and the fifth edition of Power Summit 2016, which got underway in the Capital on Thursday, does look
realistic. Neighbouring countries India and China, the two largest stakeholders in harnessing hydroelectric potential of Nepal, also agree that the ambitious target is achievable. Indian Ambassador Ranjit Rae, who was one of the panellists at the summit, was optimistic that Nepal could achieve the target in a decade. Three hydropower projects under the Indian investment—Pancheswor, Upper Karnali and Arun III—have joint installed capacity of over 7,000MW and gestation period of 7 to 10 years. According to Rae, if the development of these three projects is expedited, Nepal’s goal of producing 10,000 MW in next 10 years looks very realistic. “However, the country needs to eliminate procedural bottlenecks faced by developers of large projects,” said Rae.
He also pointed out the difficulties faced by the developers in acquiring land. “Although acquisition of private land is relatively easier, it is very difficult to acquire public land in Nepal,” said Rae, indicating the problems faced by developers of Upper Karnali and Arun III to acquire forest land. Similarly, Chinese Ambassador Yu Hong suggested that the government should facilitate Chinese companies in expediting the key procedures for developing hydroelectric projects in Nepal. “Our government is encouraging Chinese companies to invest in the energy sector in Nepal,” said Yu at the summit.
“In the past few decades, Chinese companies have gained vast experience in developing hydropower projects, and Nepal can reap the benefits by ensuring right environment.”In the meantime, Bangladesh has also shown solidarity with Nepal’s power goals and has agreed to make investments as well as import surplus energy in future. “Bangladesh is in need of thousands of megawatt of electricity to fuel its high economic growth, and it will import electricity from Nepal to fill the deficit if Nepal produces surplus energy,” said Bangladeshi Ambassador Mashfee Binte Shams. While inaugurating the summit, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal suggested that domestic power producers tap the remittance to finance hydropower projects in the country. The two-day summit has brought together national and international power producers, financial institutions and representatives from diplomatic communities to discuss how Nepal can tap its enormous hydropower potential.
Facts and figures
- 850MW: Installed capacity already online
- 3,000MW: Under-construction projects that will generate electricity within next few years
- 5,000 MW: Under consideration projects
- 7,000 MW: Pancheswor, Upper Karnali and Arun III under Indian investment with the gestation period of 7 to 10 years