KATHMANDU, FEB 13 –
The economic and social status of rural communities in Nepal could be enhanced through various small and medium scale enterprises that run on electricity generated through micro hydropower projects, experts have suggested.
In an interaction titled ‘Powering Enterprises Through Renewable Energy’ held in the Capital on Wednesday, energy experts and entrepreneurs said micro hydropower projects could be a reliable source to power the off-grid rural communities. They said the energy produced could be used to operate small and medium enterprises like agro processing units, sewing business, welding shops and computer institutes.
Most rural parts of the country do not have national grid connection, which is mainly due to geological constraints. Developing micro hydropower projects with the installed capacity ranging between 10-100 KW in these regions would not only provide energy access to the people there but also help their economy.
Jagadish Chandra Pokharel, former vice-chairman of National Planning Commission (NPC), said renewable energy is a vital source for improving economic activities in the rural areas. “Though the construction of larger hydropower projects is must, the development and promotion of small and medium scale hydropower projects is equally important,” he said.
About 24 MW electricity in the country is generated through micro hydropower projects that cover more than 50 rural districts of the country. According to the Alternative Energy Promotion Center (AEPC), the energy generated from these projects are not harnessed properly as the rural communities use the electricity for household purposes. It is estimated that only 30 percent of the energy generated by these plants are utilised for lighting and cooking purposes. The remaining energy is going in waste.
Govind Pokhrel, the executive director of AEPC, said proper utilisation of renewable energy sources is essential for overall development of industries, including the small and the medium ones.
“To promote and develop entrepreneurship at the local level, various small and medium scale enterprises should be launched to create employment opportunities,” he said.
To encourage entrepreneurship, AEPC has come up with a subsidy programme for both new and existing small and medium scale industries powered by electricity generated from renewable sources. It aims to create around 19,000 jobs.
Source : ekantipur