A study by the Alternative Energy Promotion Center (AEPC) in coordination with the UN Environment Program (UNEP) and other institutions has showed that at least 30,000 MW of wind energy can be generated in Nepal due to adequate hilly and riparian corridors where wind blows regularly. The AEPC had done that study under the Solar and Wind Energy Resource Assessment (SWERA) Project.
“Study in just 10 percent of the total area where wind energy can be generated showed possibility for 3,000 MW,” engineer at the wind energy subunit under the AEPC Prakash Aryal says. “We can identify additional potential areas through comprehensive study,” he adds. He claims that reliable energy can be generated at low cost in Nepal due to the recent development in technology and falling cost of generating wind energy. The Asian Development bank (ADB) is preparing to implement 25 off-grid projects under the South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) with assistance of US$ 30 million (around Rs 300 million) after seeing immense potential for generation of wind energy in Nepal. A total of 500 KW will be generated from these 25 projects with capacity of 20 KW each to be completed within 2018, according to the AEPC.
The ADB has hinted that these projects will be developed as pilot projects and big ones will be started if they succeed. Aryal reveals that the World Bank (WB), like the ADB, has showed interest to develop wind energy in Nepal. Electrification of 48 households in Dhouwadi of Nawalparasi has been completed in 2010 developing a mixed energy project to generate 102 KW including 10 KW of wind energy and 2 KW of solar energy. This was the first institutional donor assistance for development of wind energy in Nepal. The AEPC has also already installed a wind water pump in Biratnagar in 2009. Both of these projects seem to be successful but both are off-grid projects and cannot be connected to the central transmission line. Only hydropower projects generate on-grid energy in Nepal.
Demand for wind energy has been rising in Nepal, according to the AEPC. Demand for wind energy projects with capacity of 1.5 MW has already been made with the AEPC that is currently operating a few model and study-oriented projects. The government has yet to bring a policy for mixed energy despite immense potential for development of wind energy in Nepal. The government has been currently prioritizing hydropower projects under the energy sector.
A 20 KW wind energy project was installed for the first time in Nepal in 1989 at Kagbeni, Mustang. The project, established through direct instruction of the then King Birendra after his Britain visit, was closed after a storm broke its turbine. The Water and Energy Commission and the Department of Meteorology in 1996 had established centers to measure wind speed at five different places in the country, and handed them over to the AEPC. The AEPC itself established such wind measuring centers at five more places and started study. The SWERA Project was then started in 2008 through assistance by UNEP.
The government in the Red Book for the current fiscal year aims to generate 100 KW of wind energy through detailed study for wind energy projects at five places. Neighboring India generates 20,000 MW of wind energy while northern neighbor China also plans to meet its energy demands through wind energy by 2030.
Necessary things for development of wind energy
Grids and PPA friendly to renewable energy
Subsidized loans to the private sector
Mixed energy policy
Effective centers to measure wind speed
Facts mentioned in SWERA Report
Wind energy can be generated in 6,000 square kilometers of area
300 watt can be generated from one square meter of area
3000 MW can be generated in just 10 percent of the possible areas