NEA to buy electricity generated from biomass and sugarcane


    The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) plans to buy electricity generated from biomass (plant-based materials) and sugarcane in a move towards alternative energy sources.

    A meeting of the NEA board held last week also decided to buy 3 MW of biomass energy from Balaju Biomass and Bricket Company (BBBC) and 1 MW of energy from Everest Sugar Mill, Janakpur. NEA officials said that the board decided to sign power purchase agreements (PPA) to buy the energy.

    NEA sources said that it would pay Rs 8 per unit for biomass energy and Rs 8.40 per unit of energy generated by the sugar mill. “The rate has been fixed for the initial PPA signing,” said a board member. NEA director and general manager of the power trade division Sher Singh Bhat said that the PPA format had been prepared, and that the agreement would be signed within a couple of weeks. “PPAs will be signed with them separately,” said Bhat.

    Officials said that BBBC would generate energy at Sisdol, Nuwakot where solid wastes from the Kathmandu valley are dumped. The energy produced at the dumping site will be transmitted to a substation at Balaju. “The meeting has decided to buy the energy produced from biomass for six months on a trial basis,” added the member.

    Five months ago, the Energy Ministry approved BBBC’s proposal to conduct a feasibility study on generating energy from biomass. Ministry officials said that the company had been given a year’s time for the feasibility study. BBBC said that it would be able to produce some 90.82 million units of energy from biomass annually. The company had asked the NEA to sign a 25-year PPA and proposed a rate of Rs 12 per unit.

    NEA had called for proposals for alternative measures from the private sector in a bid to decrease the load-shedding hours particularly during the winter. In response to the invitation, Everest Sugar Mill had shown interest in selling energy generated from leftover sugarcane pulp.  According to officials, a 12-km long transmission line will need to be built to carry the energy produced at Everest Sugar Mill to the national grid. The NEA will purchase energy during peak hours in the winter from the company for five years.

    Manish Agrawal, director of the HP Agrawal Group of Companies, said that the NEA’s initiative would help ease the energy shortage. He added that the agreement with Everest Sugar Mill was just the beginning, and that other sugar mills in the country would come forward to sell energy to the NEA. According to the private sector’s data, the country’s sugar mills have a combined potential capacity to produce 15-20 MW of energy which could be sold.

    Source : eKantipur