Electricity from sugar factories soon

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    The government has started the process of procuring electricity generated by sugar factories. The Department of Electricity Development (DOED) has invited proposal from the industrialists within 15 days for procurement of electricity generated from bagasse during the crushing season. The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) will procure electricity from the factories from the next fiscal year as the factories have already crushed sugarcane for the current season.

    The department has invited proposals after the action plan and concept paper of National Energy Crisis Alleviation and Energy Development Decade included provision for procurement of electricity generated from bagasse. The action plan mentions that the electricity will be procured at the prevailing rate of Rs 8.40 per unit within three months. The factories will now have an opportunity to earn additional income by selling electricity. Industrialists claim that the factories can generate 260 million units of electricity a year. The NEA will procure electricity from the factories for four months starting from December in the upcoming fiscal year.

    The factories must clearly mention their capacity, period of operation, information about generation of electricity and state of transmission lines in the application. The meeting of the cabinet’s Economic and Infrastructure Committee on June 3 last year had approved the Energy Ministry’s proposal to provide promotional facilities for generation of electricity by sugar factories, and connect that to the national grid. The government has moved the process for implementing the decision almost a year later.

    President of Nepal Sugar Manufacturers Association Shahsi Kant Agrawal said up to 50 MW can be generated at the time of crushing sugarcane. He revealed that up to 15 MW will be generated in the next fiscal year from the 11 sugar factories currently in operation, and capacity will be gradually increased after that. “We will demand for prompt completion of the processes as the electricity generated during the dry season can provide relief to consumers,” he stated. “We can generate 63-87 MW (260 million units) within four years if we improve infrastructure and raise investment,” he added.

    Bagasse can also be used to manufacture paper. But pollution has increased, according to the association, in lack of use of bagasse after closure of Bhrikuti Paper Factory. The sugar factories across the country crush three million tons of sugarcane per year and produce around 160,000 tons of sugar. Around 200,000 farmers are involved in sugarcane cultivation across the country, according to the association.

    Source : Karobar