Ending load-shedding within a year not possible

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    KATHMANDU, Nov 16: Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on Sunday announced to end load-shedding within a year. But the target cannot be achieved even after the planned 200 MW solar plant is installed.
    In his address to the nation on Sunday, Oli said the government will do the needful to expedite under construction power projects and transmission lines. He also said the government will provide incentive package for small and medium scale power developers. He also promised to ease the process of signing Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with independent power producers and floated the plan to build solar plants with combined capacity of 200 MW, which is about one-fourth of hydropower that the country has been generating, within a year.
    Undergoing projects like Chameliya (30 MW), Kulekhani III (14 MW) and Upper Marshyangdi (50 MW) can start generation within a year if strong initiative is taken by the government.
    Electricity demand during peak hour is around 1,250 MW. But supply in the system is only around 700 MW which includes power imported from India. Hydropower projects in the country have installed capacity of around 750 MW. However, generation falls by around 50 to 60 percent during dry months when demand hits the peak. Also, the Upper Bhotekoshi, which was damaged by the April earthquake, has not started generation yet.
    Rajendra Kishor Kshatri, secretary of Ministry of Energy, said around 125 MW will be added to national grid within this fiscal year. “We are also importing additional 90 MW from India,” he added. He also said under-construction projects will be able to begin generation within this year only if they receive sufficient fuel.
    Khadga Bahadur Bisht, President of Independent Power Producers’ Association Nepal (IPPAN), does not believe load-shedding will be eliminated anytime soon. An official of Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) told Republica that load-shedding can be reduced substantially.
    Government officials say they plan to import 90 MW from India once construction of 400 kV Dhalkebar-Mujaffarpur cross-border transmission line is complete. But NEA needs to build a substation to import power from the new transmission line. Officials say Nepal can import up to 1000 MW from India once the substation is built.
    IPPAN also has already urged the government to declare energy crisis and introduce special measures to facilitate construction of hydropower projects and transmission line.
    Though solar plants are increasingly become affordable, thanks to drop in price of solar panels in international market, it is still unsure whether or not such plants will be financially feasible. Bisht doubts NEA will sign PPA at high rates to purchase electricity generated by solar plants. He also said it will be difficult to find huge swathe of open space to install solar plants.
    NEA is planning to install solar plants in four different places — Pharping, Kulekhani, Trishuli and Devighat – to generate 25 MW as they could not find a single land plot for the purpose.
    Regardless of what PM Oli has announced, the country can eliminate load-shedding, at least during we months, only after Upper Tamakoshi starts generation by the end of 2017.
    Source : Republica