Nepal Seeks Collaboration for Sustainable Hydropower Growth

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9 April,2024 Kathmandu:  The Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Minister, Shakti Bahadur Basnet, addressed the Independent Energy Producers Association (IPPAN) discussion forum on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) on Monday. He emphasized the government’s commitment to fostering a business-friendly environment for hydropower development.

Minister Basnet called for a shift from external criticism to collaboration between the government and private sector. He stressed that the government aims to facilitate, not hinder, hydropower growth.

He acknowledged existing challenges related to policy, forestry, and environmental concerns. However, he assured a plan is in place to address these issues. Minister Basnet highlighted the importance of coordinated efforts between government and private entities to achieve sustainable hydropower development.

Independent Energy Producers Raise Concerns:

However, Ganesh Karki, president of IPPAN, highlighted hurdles faced by the private sector during the same event on Monday. He expressed concern that projects approved by the government can be stalled by other bodies, creating uncertainty and discouraging investment.

President Karki emphasized the significant financial resources invested by private companies in hydropower projects. He warned that lengthy approval processes and bureaucratic roadblocks could deter businesses from entering the sector altogether.

He called for a stronger role from the Ministry of Energy to ensure smooth project development and address concerns raised by other agencies. President Karki also pointed out the negative impact of arrest warrants issued against hydropower producers due to forest-related issues. He argued that such measures dampen business morale and hinder progress.

Finding Common Ground:

Despite these concerns, President Karki reiterated the private sector’s commitment to supporting the government’s ambitious hydropower production targets. He emphasized the need for policy reforms to create a more streamlined and predictable business environment.

Both Minister Basnet and President Karki acknowledged the importance of environmental protection. Finding a balance between sustainable development and responsible business practices will be crucial for Nepal’s future in the hydropower sector.

The upcoming government investment conference presents an opportunity to attract foreign investment, but this will require a clear commitment from all stakeholders to address existing challenges and ensure a collaborative approach to hydropower development.