Energy crisis in the country has been rising by the year due to lack of generation in accordance with demand. Though the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has been able to limit power cuts to 12 hours a day this year, it has already stated that it will be difficult to maintain it this year with little chance of additional import from India, lack of generation in accordance to demand inside the country and no chance of addressing the problem through other alternatives. Demand of electricity has been rising by around 100 MW (10 percent) every year. The country has been facing acute energy crisis as we have failed to increase generation in a way that the demand can be fulfilled. That the country will face serious energy crisis now was forecasted around a decade ago. NEA has not just projected the required energy for the current time but for the next 18 years. The Energy Ministry and NEA were well aware about this eventuality. The current situation has arisen as attention was not paid toward project development by considering this fact.
NEA has stated that it will not sign Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with new projects stating that around 775 MW of electricity will be wasted during the rainy season after five years resulting in loss of billions even though there will still be load-shedding during the dry season. It is, however, yet to take the decision. The decision has deflated the domestic and foreign investors alike and more worryingly is threatening to put a full stop on the country’s energy development. Similarly, NEA has also told promoters of five projects, that have submitted proposals to sell electricity to it only during the dry season and are demanding that PPA be signed in US dollar, that it cannot do so. This has raised the possibility of projects not being constructed at all. It is natural for promoters to ask for PPA in dollar to attract foreign investment. NEA must formulate a PPA policy about the rate and the time period of PPA. Electricity generation fall by up to 66 percent during the dry season even though they are operated at full capacity during the rainy season as almost all the projects, that have been completed or are under construction, are run of the river (ROR) types. This results in load-shedding during the dry season and surplus energy in the rainy season. Load-shedding will continue during the dry season even though it is expected to end during the rainy season following completion of the 456 MW Upper Tamakoshy Project two years later. Load-shedding will remain during the dry season for almost a decade until reservoir based projects like Budi Gandaki, West Seti and others are completed. The state and NEA must now also focus on alternative energy to address the energy crisis during the dry season.
The state must pay serious attention toward reducing the power cuts during the dry season even by installing solar panels, installing thermal plants and raising import from India. The acute load-shedding has dilapidated the country’s industrial sector. Possibility of solar energy has increased as the technology is becoming cheaper. The state must look for potential of that. There have been additional problems as the single body has been involved in generation, transmission, distribution and procurement of electricity. NEA cannot do all these duty all alone. The long-term solution of this problem is unbundling of NEA into separate bodies for generation, transmission and distribution of electricity.
Source : Karobar Daily