Nepal to facilitate external investment in hydropower sector


    Economic Times: Suffering from high potential but low output level in hydropower, Nepal is introducing “one-door policy” to facilitate entry of external investment in its hydropower sector.

    The country has a set objective to produce 25,000 MW additional hydro-power and adequate power evacuation infrastructure by 2030. According to Nepal energy department officials, a new working committee is being structured to make Nepal’s power policies friendlier to public and private investor. The new policies are to be implemented through a ‘One Door system.’ Nepal government has an objective to generate 25,000 megawatts hydropower by 2030.

    As the road map goes, the country is going to have 18,000MW for export by the end of this planning period that needs wide spread power infrastructure works too for proper evacuation and trading of the production. But, “It is tough for Nepal to develop all these alone. So, we are open for collaborations from outside the country. India can be a major beneficiary of that,” said the Nepal Power Ministry officials.

    In Indian side, “Our Government is keen on utilizing Nepal’s untapped hydropower potential. This can be beneficial to both of us,” Union power Minister Mr. S. K. Shinde told ET earlier. An upcoming 140km long cross border power transmission line under joint initiative of India’s Power Trading Corporation, Nepal Ministry of Energy, Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) or Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL) is likely to become operational by 2014. According to ex-CMD, NHPC, Mr. S. K. Garg, with close vicinity to Nepal and common boundary, India is at a vantage position to utilize Nepal’s untapped potential.

    Moreover, existing Indo-Nepal friendship treaty and open border in between the two countries are additional advantages. Despite having 42,000MW economically viable hydropower potential Nepal’s present production even is bellow 1000MW, much less than its need at peak hour. The shortage frequently forces the country’s national power monopoly, Nepal Electricity Authority, to impose mandatory load shedding that goes even for 12 hr a day. Moreover, “Over 40% industrial operations are almost dead due to power shortage,” said Nepal’s major trade and commerce association members. “The new planning may alter the scenario in long term,” they said.