EDITORIAL: Power generation

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    Kathmandu, NOV 26, When the total country can viably generate 42,000 mega watts of electricity, it is quite a strange situation that the installed generating capacity is merely 706 MW. This is plain enough to exhibit that not enough attention has been given to the development of hydroelectric power development. It also is a pointer to the massive loadshedding schedules all throughout the year. Even now things are not looking up as far as the development of hydro-projects are concerned. What can be seen is that most of the operating projects are run-of-river types, which tend to generate less power as the dry season progresses. For having stable electricity generation the only reservoir type Kulekhani projects come to the mind. This project exemplifies that the reservoir is filled up during the rainy season, and the stock of water can be use to generate electricity even during the dry season to it full capacity. This is, however, to say that storage type hydro-projects are the only option. But, one has to moot over the construction of more storage type hydroelectric projects if the country is to increase power production increase significantly to offset the annual increase in the demand. Moreover, the livelihoods and industries depend on the sufficient supply of electricity. However, in the lack of adequate power production, the overall economy is facing doldrums.

    This brings us to the very question of how to manage the immense water resources to generate water power not only to meet the household demands but also to enhance the industrial as well as the agricultural sectors. In fact, hydro-power has become a sine qua non for the economic development of a country. The realisation is there that Nepal is sitting over a treasure house in the form of its water resources, but either politics or commissions have played in aborting many economically feasible projects. Despite this reality, the country can ill-afford to ignore the practical steps to exploit hydro-power capacity. In this context, it may not need reiteration that the run-of-river type power projects cannot be done away with completely, because of the fact that the reservoir or storage type hydro-projects cannot be located everywhere. Various considerations including the settlements and environment impacts etc have to be fully studied before deciding on further action. In fact, Nepal Electricity Authority has prepared a list of 65 potential projects of the storage type, and among them ten projects have been selected as “promising” ones.

    Now, the identification for once is not enough. Further evaluation of the promising ones ought to be carried out so that the construction of the storage type projects can receive the go-ahead signal. If this materialises, it would be a big breakthrough or rather a beginning of a steady supply of electricity throughout the year, within a few years from the commencement of the hydro-power projects construction. There will be financial constraints, but they have to be overcome possibly from within the country itself, if possible. With more surveys, the ones most appropriate must go into implementation. That would generate hopes about the end of blackouts as soon as possible.

    Source : The Himalayan Times