Powering Sustainable Growth: Regional Conference Focuses on Hydropower Development

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A one-day regional conference was held on November 23, 2023, in Kathmandu, Nepal, with a focus on sustainable hydropower development. The conference brought together representatives from government, industry, and academia to discuss strategies for developing hydropower in a way that is sustainable and beneficial to all.

In a keynote address, Minister for Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, Shakti Bahadur Basnet, underscored the government’s unwavering dedication to enacting meticulously crafted and consequential endeavors to drive the country’s energy sector towards a brighter future. He highlighted the transformative potential of hydropower, stating, “Hydropower has the potential to be a major driver of sustainable growth in South Asia.” The conference, he emphasized, was a crucial step towards scaling up climate finance for hydropower projects in the region.

Private Sector’s Commendable Support for Sustainable Development

Minister Basnet commended the private sector’s unwavering commitment to supporting the government’s efforts in sustainable development and responsible resource utilization. He acknowledged their role in fostering economic growth and environmental stewardship.

Government’s Proactive Stance on Hydropower Development

Emphasizing the hydropower sector’s equal significance for economic prosperity, Minister Basnet noted the government’s proactive stance, aiming to generate an additional 28,000 Megawatts of electricity by 2035. This ambitious goal reflects the government’s belief in hydropower’s potential to transform Nepal’s energy landscape.

Harnessing Hydropower for Nepal’s Betterment

Recognizing Nepal’s abundant hydropower resources, with an estimated potential of over 80,000 megawatts, Minister Basnet outlined the government’s unwavering commitment to harnessing hydropower for the nation’s betterment. He emphasized the sector’s ability to provide reliable and affordable electricity, fostering sustainable development and reducing environmental impact.

Robust Energy Market and Investment-Friendly Environment

The Energy Minister emphasized that the government has been meticulously implementing policy and structural reforms to ensure a robust energy market and foster an investment-friendly environment. This includes maximizing power generation to meet the country’s full capacity and expanding transmission and distribution lines to reach even the remotest corners of Nepal.

Addressing Private Sector Concerns and Fostering Collaboration

Minister Basnet’s willingness to address the concerns of the private sector demonstrates the government’s commitment to fostering a collaborative and investment-friendly environment in the hydropower sector. This approach is essential for attracting the necessary capital and expertise to harness Nepal’s vast hydropower potential.

Showcasing Nepal’s Hydropower Achievements on the Global Stage

The World Hydropower Congress held in Bali, Indonesia, proved to be a pivotal platform for Nepal to showcase its remarkable achievements in hydropower development to the global stage. Sushil Pokharel, Vice Chair of the International Hydropower Association (IHA), emphasized the importance of effectively communicating Nepal’s success stories during international events to attract foreign investment and expertise in the hydropower sector.

Need for Greater Openness to Public-Private Partnerships

Echoing the sentiments of hydropower stakeholders, Ganesh Karki, President of the Independent Power Producers’ Association of Nepal (IPPAN), emphasized the need for greater government openness towards public-private partnerships (PPPs) in Nepal’s hydropower development sector. He also expressed concerns about the draft of the Electricity Bill 2023, tabled by the energy minister in the Lower House of Parliament, urging amendments before its implementation.

Advancing Sustainable Hydropower through Collaboration

The ‘Powering Sustainable Growth’ conference, jointly organized by IPPAN, HSA, IHA, Bizbell, Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), Nepal Hydropower Association (NHA), USAID, and IPPAN, brought together key stakeholders from the government, private sector, and civil society to discuss strategies for advancing sustainable hydropower in Nepal. The conference highlighted the need for collective action and collaboration to unlock Nepal’s vast hydropower potential and achieve sustainable energy goals.