Fuel crisis prompts govt to mull 15-yr planThe government has been mulling a 15-year Energy Security Plan in a bid to strengthen the energy sector, prompted by the ongoing blockade by India whichhas exposed Nepal’s vulnerability and dependency on the southern neighbour for energy supply.
The government has been mulling a 15-year Energy Security Plan in a bid to strengthen the energy sector, prompted by the ongoing blockade by India which
has exposed Nepal’s vulnerability and dependency on the southern neighbour for energy supply.
According to the National Planning Commission (NPC), the scheme is in line with the government’s strategy of adopting a long-term and sustainable development plan.
The plan will seek to make the country self-reliant in energy by identifying several means and resources, the NPC said. Energy security usually means enhancing the country’s capacity to sustain the need for energy in times of crisis.
According to NPC Vice-Chairman Yuba Raj Khatiwada, the plan will last till 2030. “The plan is to significantly decrease the dependency of the public transportation system on fossil fuels,” Khatiwada said, addressing a meeting of the parliamentary Agriculture and Water Resource Committee (AWRC) on Tuesday. “We aim to reduce the use of fossil fuels by at least 50 percent by 2030.”
The plan will also incorporate the possibilities of alternative energy sources. Khatiwada said that developing a 15-year strategy will help the government forecast the energy scenario for 10-15 years and act accordingly.
However, the AWRC has asked the government to devise a 50-year National Energy Security Plan. AWRC Chairman Gagan Thapa said during his presentation that the government should
diversify import sources, increase the energy storage capacity, diversify energy sources and replace petroleum with other sources through the 50-year plan.
Khatiwada said that developing a plan for a very long period may not be practical as it may have to be changed frequently.
“The way the energy sector has been advancing, it is difficult to predict which mode of energy will be feasible and good for us in the next 20-25 years. Hence, we are working on a 15-year plan,” Khatiwada said.
During the presentation, Thapa said that the major factors hindering the development of the country’s energy sector was lack of coordination between government agencies, failure to make structural and policy adjustments and lack of relevant laws, among others.
“A potential hydropower developer has to make the rounds of seven ministries and 23 departments, and comply with 36 different acts to launch a project. This shows where we are. And at every step, a developer needs to invest ‘unnecessarily more’ time and resources,” Thapa said. “If the government wishes, it can clear the gridlock within a week.”
According to Thapa, there are 44 ongoing hydropower projects with a combined capacity of 1,055 MW that can completed within two years. The Department of Electricity Development has stated that 21 projects with a combined capacity of 205.59 MW can be finished within fiscal year 2015-16, and another batch with a combined capacity of 848 MW by fiscal year 2016-17.
“These projects with the potential to come into operation within two years have minor issues which need to be addressed,” Thapa said, urging the government to provide due attention towards them.
Deputy Prime Minister and Energy Minister Top Bahadur Rayamajhi said that the government was working to make the hydropower projects in operation more efficient, and clear the gridlock dogging controversial projects to produce significant achievements in the near future.
PM for freeing projects from eco shackles
KATHMANDU: Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli said Tuesday that the country would have to make some compromises on issues like environmental impact and land acquisition as these issues had been hindering the development of hydropower plants and other infrastructure projects.
Addressing a meeting of the parliamentary Agriculture and Water Resource Committee, Oli said that development projects should not be blocked if they have a minimal impact on the environment.
According to Oli, the government should also start doing negative marking of officials and authorities who lengthen the bureaucratic process, compelling developers to run hither and thither. “Many officials and authorities have a tendency of blocking the movement of files, fearing adverse consequences or in hopes of getting benefits. This is another bad tendency. Hence, we need to start marking such officials negatively, and take action accordingly,” Oli said. (PR)