‘Mechanism to project power demand planned’National Planning Commission Vice-chairman Yuba Raj Khatiwada on Monday said the government was working on a mechanism that forecasts electricity demand and production
National Planning Commission Vice-chairman Yuba Raj Khatiwada on Monday said the government was working on a mechanism that forecasts electricity demand and production so as to make it easier for investors to take investment decisions.
Currently, the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) projects the electricity demand in the country, but its projections are often termed “conservative”.
For example, amid growing use of electrical home appliances due to a shortage of cooking gas and petroleum products, the actual demand for electricity could be much higher than what the NEA projects. “As the forecast through the linear analysis modal is not effective, we are planning to develop an exponential-based modality,” he said at an interaction on “Facing Energy Crisis-Preparing Responsibly” organised by National Business Initiative in the Capital.
Khatiwada said the government has given utmost priority to food and energy security in particular. For the purpose, it will work in cooperation with the private sector, he said.
Stressing on the need for signing power purchase agreements even for renewable energy development, Khatiwada said the government was working to develop necessary legal provisions through fast-track. According to NEA projections, the electricity demand in the peak hour (evenings) has reached 1,350-1,500MW, while the demand in the morning stands at 1,080MW and in day time is 810MW. “However, the supply has dropped to 570MW, including 243MW electricity imported from India,” said NEA Deputy Managing Director Sher Singh Bhat.
He said the recently hiked load shedding hours was due to increased demand and a drop in supply. “Besides the 25-30 percent fall in production, a failure to repair hydropower projects with a combined capacity of 80MW that were damaged during the earthquake also contributed to short supply,” he said. Bhat stressed on the need for handing NEA-owned small hydropower projects to the private sector. “On the other hand, the government has to focus on the construction of four big projects — Budhi Gandaki, West Seti, Dudh Koshi and Nalsigadh — if it wants to end the power crisis,” he said.
Amrit Man Nakarmi, coordinator at Centre for Energy Studies of Tribhuvan University, said Nepal would need 2,000MW electricity by 2020. “This means an investment of 5-6 percent of the GDP has to be made in the hydropower sector,” said Nakarmi, underscoring the need for an integrated energy strategy and an effective regulatory body.
Khadga Bahadur Bisat, president of Independent Power Producers’ Association Nepal, said the government has to form a single licensing desk to encourage the private sector to invest in electricity production. “The authority could reduce the hassles investors face,” he said.