December 6, 2022, Tuesday
Nepal 1:37:26 pm

Some reasons for revision and reconsideration on thematics in energy sector (II)

The Nepal Weekly
December 14, 2021

By Purna N. Ranjitkar

Once again, it is worth to open up that there are a number of themes prevail in energy sector, Energy security, Energy efficiency and Energy mix are three burning subjects the experts and professionals have been discussing, interacting or expressing opinions for the effective takeover of the subject to state policies and implementation methodologies.

These three aspects bear importance and significances individually. These key subjects have been brought into studies and strategies since around a decade back.

Energy efficiency and Energy Mix were brought into agenda last week. This time Energy security is taken as continued to deal on.

Energy security means having stable access to energy sources on a timely, sustainable and affordable basis. Access to energy is not only crucial in supporting the provision of basic needs – such as food, lighting, water, and essential health care, but it is first and foremost a precondition to economic growth, political stability and prosperity.

Moreover, Energy security is important to face any crises created by geopolitical situation, natural calamities and to balance up the seasonal variation of electricity generation to address demand level.

Hydropower is the main stream source of energy generation in Nepal while Solar PV technology is another viable option. Likewise, electricity generation from Wind is another potential. The review, data and analysis on the entire scenario illustrate that traditional biomass is used by nearly 62% of households as their energy needs. Fossil fuel like petrol, diesel, aviation fuel, kerosene and liquefied petroleum gas are another source of energy in Nepal. Nearly 100% of transportation consume fossil fuel which Nepal imports paying a huge fund.

This is equally important to mention 93% of households in the country have been accessed to electricity through the national grid.But 65% of them are having lowest power supply system of 5 ampere. Most of industries are using coal (excluding some those who are using processed bio-mass produced in Nepal) and electricity for transportation is in a nominal scale. Similarly residential electric cooking is in an initial stage and electricity from national grid for agriculture is yet to be practicable.

The leading authorities are engaged in growth of electricity uses in industries, residential and institutional cooking, transportation to extend the demand side massively so as electricity generated could be well consumed. Various incentives also have been offered. Likewise, strengthening of transmission and distribution systems are also in progress.

Moreover, electricity generation by government owned and private sector hydropower plants operated is increasing. So far 2,000 plus Megawatt of electricity have been generated in the wet season which is more than demand at present. Due to low volume of water flow in the dry season the total electricity generation decreases to approximately 30% of installed capacity. Then the utility have to import electricity to fulfil the demand or impose declared or undeclared load shedding. Thus, the policies and plans must be instrumental to promote diverse technologies for uninterrupted electricity supply.

In this situation, hydropower plant with storage, pumped storage and PRORfeatures can fill the gaps in the peak hours and in dry season. But, Kulekhani (60 MW), Kulekhani II (30 MW) and Kulekhani III (14 MW) are only existing storage type of hydropower plants to support. It is also worth to note that construction of Tanahu Hydropower Project (180 MW) is expected to be completed in 2026 AD. However, Budhi Gandaki 1,200 MW, Tamor 756 MW, Nuamule 388MW, Dudhkoshi 635 MW, Uttar Ganga 828 MW are some much talked storage type hydropower projects. But, any of them will not be in come to realty before a decade or more to come. Similarly, Begnas-Rupa Pumped-storage Project in Kaski (150 MW), a pumped storage type project was studied as a viable solution to address electricity deficit in the peak hour mainly.

Electricity generation by PROR hydropower plants in peak hour in the dry season and electricity generated from Solar PV Farms and Grid connected Roof-top Solar PV electricity can be another solution to supply power in the day time to meet commercial and industrial demand. For these measures Solar PV Farms and Roof-top Solar PV systems should be taken into priority where broadening the Energy-mix proportion is expectable.

Energy storage in batteries is also a technical solution to back up in peak hours. Solar PV generated electricity or electricity generated by hydropower plants in the night hours may be charged the batteries of megawatt hour capacity can support well.

The electricity generated by micro hydropower also can be connected to the national grid. The experiences in a few micro hydropower plants successful even to contribute in voltage stabilising as well.  

Similarly, keeping in view appropriate use of processed biomass in domestic sector mainly for cooking in rural areas and MSCIs should be prioritise. That will help minimise in-house air pollution to protect health of women and children mainly. That is also useful for well managed utilisation of forest resources and agriculture waste.

Less thought aspect is engagement of Local Level Governments in energy management. As LLGs are effective players to have measures to connect Federal and Provincial systems to deliver service to end users. Therefore, LLGs should be given authority to handle energy management as well so as they could play a role of energy buyer, generator, and service provider. That means, once LLGs become capable of handling energy matters, they will act as an energy utility at Local Level for ‘energy independency’. That will help support a strong Energy security mechanism. Thus, Energy security may be brought into easy working platform where all stakeholders including LLGs play a significant role. However, capacity building to the players is more important before bring the players into action.