Electricity consumption will be increased and fuel import will be reduced, plans included in the budget of the current financial year are also included in the action plan
Kathmandu – Even though around 2500 megawatts of electricity is being produced, the government has made an action plan for electricity consumption after the situation has come to a point where India is wasting it without buying it. The procedure has planned to increase quality and easy supply of electricity from irrigation, vehicles, kitchens to industries.
The Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation has prepared an action plan for domestic electricity consumption and submitted it to the Council of Ministers. According to the ministry, procedures have been made to provide sufficient electricity to the industrial sector, concessions on electricity used in irrigation, and to attract the use of induction and other cooking equipment. “Even though around 2,500 megawatts of electricity is produced, an action plan for electricity consumption has been prepared in the country since India is not buying it and is wasting it,” Ministry spokesperson Madhu Bhetuwal said, “Final preparations are being made to send the action plan to the Cabinet.”
Plans included in the current financial year’s budget are also included in the action plan. Extending renewable energy technologies such as micro and small hydropower and solar and wind to households in remote areas that do not reach the national transmission line in order to provide access to electricity to 100 percent of the population within the next two years. There are plans to increase per capita electricity consumption to 450 kilowatt hours, encourage electric vehicles, and give concessions on electricity to cold stores used for storing agricultural produce. According to Bhetuwal, there is a situation where the project will not be completed on time and for this, the procedure has been prepared to create an environment for construction within a fixed time.
According to the Ministry, an action plan has been prepared by prioritizing the use of induction stoves, strengthening transmission lines, etc. to reduce the import of petroleum products. Issues such as penalizing projects that cannot be built on time are included in the action plan. Bhetuwal informed that a procedure has been made to give concessions on electricity used in agriculture. “Especially our agricultural products are only used seasonally,” he said.
At present, the installed capacity of hydropower projects has reached around three thousand megawatts. The production is around 2500 MW. Domestic demand is around 1800 MW. Producers say that 170 MW of electricity is currently being wasted due to lack of electricity consumption. The Association of Independent Energy Producers (IPPAN) has been objecting to the authority’s decision to reduce production.
It is mentioned in the data extracted by IPPAN that 170 megawatts of electricity of 20 hydropower projects were wasted due to the authority. Bhetuwal says that even the electricity that can be used in the country cannot be supplied by the current structure and the procedure brought by the ministry will cover it. India has currently allowed 452 MW of electricity from 10 hydropower projects to be sold on the Indian Energy Exchange (IEX). According to the Nepal Electricity Authority, around 5 to 700 megawatts of electricity will be wasted if more projects are not approved this year.
Currently, Nepal’s consumption is not even 2,000 and although there is no problem with the export of 452 MW so far, if the production increases slowly, there will be a problem if more projects are not approved, says Kulman Ghising, the executive director of the authority. The authority has sent to India asking for permission to sell 1,000 megawatts of electricity from 18 projects in the Indian market. However, in the projects sent by Nepal, India has started asking for details of banks, bank owners etc. without giving permission.
India, which has adopted a policy of discouraging the investment of other countries in Nepali hydropower, has not allowed the sale of the 456 MW Upper Tamakoshi project, which was built with domestic investment, when a Chinese contractor was involved in the civil works. One and a half years have passed since Nepal sent a letter to India to buy electricity for this project. But India has not disclosed the reason for not allowing the electricity sale of the project. Stakeholders claim that the reason why India did not buy Tamakoshi electricity, which was built entirely with Nepali capital, is because the Chinese company is doing civil works.
At present, the Indian company has been entrusted with the construction of 7 projects of 4,639 megawatts in Nepal. With the signing of two more hydropower projects during Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s visit to India, seven major projects of Nepal have reached the hands of Indian companies. The target is to produce 4,639 megawatts of electricity from these projects. India, which has introduced guidelines not to purchase electricity if the investment is from other countries, is about to establish a near-monopoly on Nepali water resources.
In the ‘Guidelines for Import/Export (Cross Border) of Electricity’ introduced in 2018, there is a policy of not buying electricity from countries that do not have an energy agreement, even if they share a border with India. Energy experts say that the guideline was brought especially for Indian capture of Nepal and Bhutan’s hydropower.