KATHMANDU, July 16: The Government of Nepal and Independent Power Producers' Association Nepal (IPPAN) jointly conferred certificates of appreciation to Nepali hydropower producers for their contribution to the development of hydropower, on Sunday.
The awardees include independent power producers that operate 58 power plants and Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) that operates 14 plants.
All the power plants are now connected to the national grid, said Nabin Raj Singh, director general of Department of Electricity Development (DoED).
The program was organized on the 24th anniversary of the establishment of DoED. The department was formed after the government opened hydropower generation to the private sector.
The private sector has now an installed capacity equaling almost to that of the NEA, the government-owned power utility.
This was the first time the hydropower producers were collectively appreciated for their contribution, according to Dambar Nepali, an architect of the domestically-financed Chilime Hydropower Project.
“It's a matter of pride for us to see so many developers from the private sector engaged in hydropower generation in the country,” said Nepali. He is aiming to finance and start a large-scale power plant in near future.
Subarna Das Shrestha, promoter of Sanima Hydropower Private Limited, expressed happiness about the recognition and pledged to make additional efforts to generate hydropower.
“The recognition is a motivation for us to further contribute in this sector,” Shrestha said, adding that the recognition was a kind of compensation for efforts of his company. The company's three plants, with installed capacity of 31.6 megawatts, are in operation currently.
Shailendra Guragain, president of IPPAN, said that the private sector was now engaged in construction of power plants with 3500 megawatts of installed capacity, with a total commitment of Rs 700 billion.
“Construction of these plants will require digging 300-kilometer-long tunnels and constructing 1000-kilometer-long transmission lines,” Guragain said.
Kishor Babu Aryal, former director general of DoED recounted resistance from different quarters to the DoED's efforts in its early days. There was a huge resistance from the World Bank, according to him.
“The establishment of power plants by the private sector itself has proved the success of the DoED,” Aryal said.
Arbinda Kumar Mishra, member of the National Planning Commission, said that the plan for power generation should be based not in terms of megawatts, but in terms of demand and seasonal variation.
Director General Singh briefed about the fast track licensing services. "DoED is now focusing on the study of mega hydropower projects and enhanced supervision and monitoring of the works," added Singh.