New public-private model for hydropower development in offing

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    KATHMANDU, July 4 : 

    hydro_artThe government, which is in the last leg of detailed engineering of Madi hydropower project in Rolpa and Maiwa hydropower in Taplejung, is mulling over a new model for the projects, under which the projects will be jointly developed by the government, general public, cooperatives and the local bodies. Combined production capacity of the two projects is 25 MW. 

    New model of hydropower development is under preparation in the Ministry of Energy after the Department of Electricity Development (DoED) forwarded the proposal. 

    Information Officer of DoED Gokarna Raj Pantha said that they have forwarded the model that envisages 50 percent investment from the local government, private sector, local cooperatives and local residents and another 50 percent by DoED, Nepal Electricity Authority and other government agencies. 

    Officials said that the model is coined as ´Janatako Jalvidhyut Janatakai Lagani´ and it is said to be extended from ´Janatako Jalvidhyut´ endorsed by erstwhile government of UCPN-Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal in 2008. 

    Energy Minister Radha Gyawali explained that the model to empower the local people, bring in resources earned from the foreign employment into the hydro sector.

    Gyawali also wanted to expand the model to larger projects to make a total of 300 MW within three years.

    The policy and program of the government unveiled last week also has mentioned of hydropower development in that model.

    Pantha said that the detailed engineering study of first two projects will be completed within six months and they will go to the implementation to be led by DoED itself. But Minister Gyawali said that NEA will lead the implementing agency to develop the projects.

    The idea of collecting investment from local bodies is aimed at bringing royalties collected from the hydropower companies to new hydropower projects.

    Fifty percent of royalty received from hydropower projects is given to the local bodies. Hydropower projects are to pay 2 percent of total income for the first 15 years and 10 percent in the second 15 years and Rs 100 per KW installed capacity for 15 years and Rs 1000 per KW installed capacity and 20 percent income tax.

    Pantha added that Ikhuwa (8 MW) of Sankhuwasabha, Kabeli (12 MW) of Taplejung, Chepekhola (8 MW) of Lamjung, Dotigadh (5 MW) of Dadheldhura will be included in the second phase. The DoED has already carried out pre-feasibility studies for these projects.

    Former energy secretary Balananda Paudel said that the model will be useful to finance projects but he expressed doubts on implementing agencies.

    “The DoED is not capable enough to carry out projects and NEA´s track record of implementing projects speaks of its inefficiency,” charged Paudel.
    However, the model needs to be approved by the Ministry of Finance and National Planning Commission.

    Member of NPC Chandra Mani Adhiakari said that the model can be feasible if proper implementing mechanism is instituted. “Generation unit as envisioned by the government through policy and programs by unbundling NEA can be helpful in this regard,” added Adhikari. However, he said DoED should not be the implementing agency.

    Source : Republica