Govt mulls US$ 60m assistance from World Bank for solar plant

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    Solar Power SystemKATHMANDU, March 5:Amid acute power shortage in the country, the government is preparing to seek US$ 60 million in assistance from the World Bank to develop a 20 megawatts solar energy plant.

    “The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has already forwarded the proposal to the Ministry of Energy (MoE) and has asked to forward it to the World Bank through the Ministry of Finance (MoF),” an official at MoE told Republica.

    Under its load-shedding reduction plan for winter, the government had mulled construction of a 20 megawatts solar energy plant. The World Bank has already agreed in principle to provide the amount for the project.

    “We will forward the proposal to the World Bank once we receive it from the energy ministry,” said Joint Secretary at the finance ministry Madhu Kumar Marasini. “This project is too important and we will try our best to implement it as soon as possible.” According to the proposal, the solar energy plant in the country will be able to reduce load-shedding by four to five hours per day.

    “This solar energy plant will be our first priority at the moment as it would relieve people from long hours of power cut,” said Marasini. The project also includes construction of 132 kV transmission line, said an official at the energy ministry.

    The government, in its load shedding reduction plan had planned to supply power to government offices from the solar plant. “The NEA in collaboration with other partners will develop infrastructure for supplying electricity generated by the solar plant to hospitals, Singh Durbar, the president´s office and Pashupati Area Development Trust, among other areas,” reads the plan. “The government will also establish a separate entity for development and management of solar energy in the country.”

    However, an official at MoF expressed doubts if the solar plant would be developed on time. “Given the bureaucratic inefficiency, I am not hopeful that NEA and the energy ministry would be able to develop the project on time even if the World Bank provides assistance,” said the official.

    Sourse : Republica