Government identifying locations to install solar power plants

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    KATHMANDU, JUN 04 –

    solar panelsThe Ministry of Energy (MoE) is studying locations to establish six solar power plants across the country.

    Five such plants will be installed in the Tarai region and one inKathmandu , according to Energy Minister Radha Gyawali. She said the ministry has already identified four locations— Kathmandu , Nepalgunj, Janakpur and Hetauda.

    For the Eastern region, the Energy Ministry has sought the Ministry of Education’s help to acquire a land plot owned by Purvanchal University. The last one will be installed either in Nawalparashi or Rupandehi or Kapilvastu.

    “If we are to end the situation of sever power crisis, we need to work on all possible alternative energy sources,” said Gyawali, adding the government will first identify the locations and then ask the private sector to install the plants (with at least 25MW capacity each) and operate them.

    Besides the proposed six solar plants, the government will install two more solar stations with 50MW capacity each on its own.

    World Bank has also pledged to build a separate solar power plant with 25MW capacity, Gyawali said. Besides, a Korean company is also holding talks with the ministry to develop a 50MW solar plant.

    “We aim to generate 325MW energy from solar power plants in the next three years,” said Gyawali, adding the ministry is making efforts to get the projects started at the possible earliest. To expedite the work on the solar power plants, the ministry has formed two teams. The country currently generates 690MW electricity, while the peak-hour demand stands at 1,150 MW.

    Gyawali said as Nepal needs more than 2,000 MW electricity after 2016, the ministry will prioritise big as well as small projects to meet the demand.

    According to Gyawali, developing alternative energy sources is must amid the possibilities of aberrant natural calamities. “Every year, hydropower plants are shut down partially for repair and maintenance work. This is also the reason why there is a need for alternative energy sources.”

    The ministry has also prioritised increasing electricity supply from small hydropower projects under the “People’s Electricity for the People” (Janatako Bidhyut, Janatakai Lagi) project. The programme, which aims at generating 300MW electricity in three years, is expected to start generating 125MW from the next year, and an additional 150 MW by the following year.

    Gyawali said under the programme, the government will invest a certain amount in all projects as an equity partner, while the remaining amount will be collected from the general people, NGOs, district development committees, and cooperatives, among others, as share investment.

    Source : The Kathmandu Post