June 13, 2024, Thursday
Nepal 1:37:26 pm

RE for MSCIs : Climate friendly energy solution

The Nepal Weekly
May 21, 2024

Renewable energy(RE) is energy that is collected from renewable resources, which are naturally replenished on a human timescale, such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves and geo-thermal heat. Renewable energy often provides energy in four important areas: electricity generation, air and water and water heating/ cooling, transportation, and rural (off-grid) energy services.

Benefits of Renewable energy technologies (RETs) give positive impact on health issues including indoor air pollution, reduction or zero consumption of firewood i.e. forest conservation, drudgery reduction related to create income generation activities, better and enough light for studies and reading opportunities with work till late evening, better health conditions, use of natural resources reducing use of imported dirty fuels. In sum up, all the said and some untold activities are realising the important role of RETs in environment, climate change, gender, social inclusion issues, economical activities and growth of economy.

Federation of Nepal Cottage and Small Industries (FNCSI), the national organisation of 35,000 micro – small – cottage industries including 11,000 women led enterprises need easy and better access to RETs to the industries spread in the nook and corners of the country. They need to utilise RETs for low cost operation of their industries using local resources and adopt advanced technologies that causes no harm to resources and health, promote automation, environment friendly and efficient.

FNCSI has been playing influential role in national level policy formulation and implementation including its primary focus on protection and promotion of rights of micro, cottage and small industries in Nepal. To bridge the gap of gender disparities and streamline the efforts of women entrepreneurships, FNCSI also has thoughts on promotion of RETs for MSCIs.

To disseminate knowledge and information on RETs to MSCIs, the leading NGOs like FNCSI can play an important role in strengthening economies, and open up soft processes of coordination in integrating renewables into enterprise development as well which over the time can be keys to resolving issues of less carbon production and health risk due to smokes and health hazard do. Adopting renewables is essential to increase qualitative production of such industries in a sustainable manner. This will have increased usage of locally available resources, mobilise raw materials and manpower thus reducing cost of production, increasing employment opportunities attracting and help retain youth in the country.

In creating access of clean energy to MSCIs all over the country. The focus should be on off-grid locations to replace use of traditional fuels.

Moreover, RETs should be available to MSCIs at their work place. So as electricity generated by micro hydro schemes or Solar PV systems or supplied through the national grid could be utilised well. The technology may be better utilised if capable MSCIs install systems for their own use and spill over be sold to neighbourhood or to the national grid system.

RETs can help agro-based MSCIs to make scientific, hygienic and cost effective. the importance of RETs for MSCIs while the technologies contribute to upgrade the living of working people including women, unserved communities, poor, disables and so on as well.

The Industrial Policy, 1992 of Nepal government has classified labour intensive industries related to country’s tradition, art, culture and traditional industries mobilising special skills or local raw materials and resources as traditional cottage industries. According to Nepal Industrial Policy, 2076, that industry which uses up to 10 kW electricity for production are called industry.

Small scale industries, on the other hand, belongs to the group of industries which have investment up to Rs. 50 million and are operated with help of outside labour ranging in the most cases from 10 to 25 heads.

Cottage and small scale industries play a crucial role in the process of economic development of developing countries like Nepal. The importance of cottage and small scale industries are mentioned as follows. Generation of employment opportunities, easy to establish, utilisation of local resources are the importance of such industries. Likewise, such industries play positive role as basis of the development of large scale industries, foreign exchange earning source, preservation of local arts and culture, contribution to national income are also beautiful parts of cottage and small industries.

The loss of opportunities caused by the coronavirus pandemic around the world had affected Nepal’s cottage and small industries also. However, earlier, it was estimated that there were around 300,000 cottage and small industries in Nepal.

Most of such industries run by manual works and required energy is fulfilled by burning firewood or coal or diesel.

To larger extend, manual works may be mechanised utilizing small machines and tools powered by electricity and oven and furnace may be fuelled by bio-fuel (briquette or palettes) or electricity. Such modification will reduce cost of productions in the long run. So that manual workers will have to switch to other industries. That will generate additional industries and employment.

Thus, cottage and small industries can be accessed electricity from renewable energy technologies of electricity from national grid. Electricity generated from micro hydropower plants, solar-mini grid, Solar-wind mini-grid, Solar PV system and electricity from bio-gas plants can be utilised in the off-grid locations.

The Constitution of Nepal and other legal provisions have authorised local level governments (municipalities and rural municipalities) to issue licence to the electricity generation entrepreneurs. Likewise, cottage and small scale industries work with close coordination with local level governments. Therefore, these two stakeholders can collaborate in electricity generation in their locality for cottage and small industries where local governments support entrepreneurs in legal and financial issues while utilising renewable energy technologies entrepreneurships will employ local workers, utilise locally available raw materials and taxes to the local governments.

Therefore, the government agencies, associations of local governments, umbrella organisation of cottage and small industries, private sector who manufacture or import, supply and take responsibility for after-sales-services of renewable energy technologies cooperate each other so as renewable energy technologies can be well utilised to work in non-polluting environment and without consuming fossil fuel. 

In the present context, the Government and Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has been saying that 98 percent of the population has access to electricity so far. All the needful preparations have been done for 100 percent electrification within one year and half to come.

Hence, electricity through national grid will be the prime system to provide electricity to all. The Government and NEA also says that those who cannot be accessed by the national grid will be provided electricity through alternative technologies –mainly micro hydro and solar pv.

Keeping in view the consistency and quality of electricity being provided in the far flung locations, experts and users are not satisfied. As such, for quality energy needed for MCSIs should be through RETs, preferably energy generated in captivity and or isolated models. If national grid has been stretched the energy generating entities and take opportunity to get ‘grid connected’ in the net-metering model.

Therefore, the Governments in all three levels, FNCSI, and institutions responsible for MSCIs and promotion of RETs should deeply consider on RETs for micro-small and cottage industries to replace traditional fuels.