KATHMANDU, June 6 :
A major policy intervention would be required to start more hydropower projects in the country to achieve the required per capita electricity consumption for graduating Nepal to the league of developing countries by 2022, an energy expert said on Friday.
“Given the sluggish pace of hydropower development and slow economic growth rate, Nepal will be able to achieve the standard per capita energy consumption of 2,000 units, required to achieve the status of developing country, only in 2045,” energy expert Amrit Man Nakarmi projected, presenting his working paper at a workshop on ´Electricity Demand: A total Energy Perspective´ in Kathmandu on Friday.
The workshop was organized by Independent Power Producers´ Association (IPPAN).
“Electricity is important for industrial growth and other social development. We need to generate around 18,000 MW for peak hour by 2022 if we are to graduate to the group of developing countries,” added Nakarmi.
At the current pace of hydropower development, Nepal will be able to generate around 1,500 MW by 2022.
Nepal´s industrial growth has declined to 1.2 percent from 9 percent recorded in the 1990s when there was no power cut. At present, Nepal´s per capita energy consumption stands at 93 units – the lowest in South Asia. The share of hydropower in total energy consumption stands at only 2 percent.
Nepal´s investment in energy sector is also one of the lowest in the region, standing at mere 0.3 percent of GDP compared to 16 percent in Bhutan and 3.4 percent in India.
Nakarmi added that Nepal should spend at least 5 percent of GDP, or Rs 85 billion annually, to achieve the electricity requirement to meet the electricity per capita consumption target.
The expert´s view comes at a time when Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has stopped signing power purchase deals with private developers, saying that it will face energy surplus after 2017/18 when power generated by Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project is connected to national grid.
Nakarmi also suggested to officials to put in place functional legislative, regulatory and institutional framework, integrated energy sector policy and sub-sector policies, to increase power generation.
SUFFICIENT POWER GENERATION CAN REDUCE TRADE DEFICIT
Experts also said generation of an additional 700 MW of energy can reduce trade deficit by around 10 percent.
Nakarmi said electricity can replace Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) used for cooking worth Rs 20 billion, diesel worth another Rs 20 billion for generating electricity, and import of generator sets worth Rs 10 billion annually.
Total trade deficit is projected to cross Rs 500 billion this year.
Total energy supply in the country hovers around 800 MW, including imports from India. Import of fossil fuel can also be reduced by around 12 percent, according to Nakarmi.
Source : Republica