New plan highlights reservoir-type projects

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    KATHMANDU, JUL 05 –

    Kulekhani ReservoirThe proposed Approach Paper for the 13th Three-Year Plan has envisioned that at least 30 percent of the new hydropower projects will be reservoir-type projects. The document will serve as the basis for the 13th Plan which will run from 2013-16.

    It is the first time that the percentage of reservoir type projects to be developed has been the mentioned in the plan. Since run-of-the-river projects produce more electricity during the rainy season (when demand for electricity is low) and less during the dry season (when demand is high), it has been felt necessary to build reservoir-type projects like Kulekhani to ease the power deficit in the winter.  Currently, there is only one reservoir type project — Kulekhani — that produces 92MW power.

    The Approach Paper has also envisioned fixing a separate rate for power purchase agreements (PPA) for reservoir-type projects. Pushpa Lal Shakya, joint secretary at the National Planning Commission, said that reservoir-type projects had been accorded priority to deal with energy shortages in the winter. “This policy will be applicable for projects developed by both the government and the private sector,” he said.

    The Approach Paper has sought to reduce load-shedding and increase people’s access to electricity. As per the document, the domestic private sector will be encouraged to develop small and medium-level hydropower projects.

    With regard to large and multi-purpose projects, the new plan will focus on attracting more foreign investment and aid. The Approach Paper has planned to provide a certain share to the local people living in the area of big projects.

    Meanwhile, considering the lack of transmission lines which poses a problem to evacuating the power produced by the projects under construction, the Approach Paper has proposed encouraging the private sector to erect power lines as a public-private partnership under the Build and Transfer, Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) or Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT) schemes.

    At the end of the 13th Plan period, it is expected that the country will have an additional power generation capacity of 668 MW and new transmission lines totalling 400 km. Similarly, the percentage of the population getting electricity from the national grid is projected to increase to 65 percent. Currently, 50 percent of the population is connected to the national grid. “The target for electricity generation is reasonable as it is certain that the 456 MW Upper Tamakoshi project will come online by the next plan period if work continues at the current speed,” said Shakya.

    Meanwhile, the Approach Paper has also given priority to producing renewable energy. It aims to increase power production from renewable energy sources to 22 MW from the current 5.71 MW from micro-hydro and 10 KW from wind power.

    Among the measures mentioned to boost the production of renewable energy are bio-fuel, solar energy in urban areas and energy production from waste and wind. The power generated in this manner will be used for irrigation in the Tarai region.

    As far as road infrastructure is concerned, the Approach Paper has sought to expand the road network by 3,000 km during the plan period. “An additional 310 strategic bridges will be constructed and the standard of 2,100 km of roads will be enhanced,” said the Approach Paper.

    Major focus has been given to completing the postal road, Mid-Hill Highway and Kathmandu-Tarai Fast Track currently under construction. “There will be standard enhancement of other strategic roads connecting these mega road projects,” stated the Approach Paper. The document has envisioned adopting the policy of attracting private investment through the BOT and BOOT modalities to build the strategic roads.

    Meanwhile, as per the target for aviation infrastructure, construction of two regional international airports in Pokhara and Bhairahawa will be started and the runways at 22 airports will be blacktopped. With regard to the development of railways, the Approach Paper said a detailed project report of the proposed Mechi-Mahakali railway would be completed and construction would begin on the Simara-Bardibas section.

    Regarding, infrastructure related to information and communication, Nepal will launch its own satellite, broadband and optical fibre networks will be expanded extensively and a film city will be constructed.

    Under infrastructure development for planned urbanization, unified infrastructure development will be carried out at 16 municipalities. “It is expected that 1.2 million people will benefit from the initiative when the plan expires,” stated the Approach Paper.

    The document has also given high emphasis to local infrastructure development. It has aimed to build 3,250 km of new rural roads by the end of the new plan. An additional 35,000 hectares of land will be irrigated benefiting 550,000 people, and 500,000 people will enjoy basic drinking water supply at the end of plan period, according to the Approach Paper.

    Source : The Kathmandu Post

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