KATHMANDU, NOV 01 – The Nepali expertise in developing micro-hydropower projects to help rural communities meet their energy demands will soon be imparted to other countries in the region and beyond.
Experts with the Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC), under the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology, will be offering technical assistance and training in developing micro-hydropower projects of less than 1,000 kilowatt capacity to Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The assistance will include helping interested parties develop policy documents, train and share information on subsidies and facilitate the involvement of the private sector in the development of such projects.
According to Bharat Poudel, programme manager for the Regional Centre for Excellence in Micro Hydro (RCEMH), established under the AEPC to expand clean energy opportunities in South Asia, Nepali experts have already been sharing their knowledge and experience with select South Asian countries at the individual level. “Building on Nepal’s exemplary work in micro-hydro, Nepali experts from AEPC will now be helping other countries by transferring their technical proficiency,” said Poudel.
The RCEMH has been launched with aid from the US Agency for International Development (USAID)’s South Asia Regional Initiative for Energy (SARI/E) programme.
Nepal built its first micro-hydro project with an installed capacity of 5 kilowatt in 1962. In a four-decade period, around 20 MW of electricity has been generated in rural districts, particularly the mid-hills and high mountains, through micro-hydro projects that are helping rural communities meet their energy demands and improve their livelihoods.
According to Poudel, Nepal is a pioneer in developing small-scale hydro projects to bring clean energy to thousands of people and improve economic opportunities for them.
The Nepali government, with support from various development partners, has been providing subsidies and technical assistance to micro-hydropower projects in the country. Under the subsidy scheme, less than 40 percent of the total cost–up to Rs 97,500 per kilowatt–is subsidised while the remaining cost is borne by the local communities themselves.
Various user groups have been formed in project villages to oversee local administration and maintenance.
Nepali experts have successfully imparted technical expertise to Southeast Asia and Africa in biogas, a clean and home-grown technology that uses cow dung to produce energy for cooking and lighting purposes. More than 100,000 biogas plants have been installed in Vietnam by Nepali experts.
Source : The Kathmandu Post ( PRAGATI SHAHI)