KATHMANDU, Dec 10: In what can be termed a landmark achievement in the country's hydroposer sector, Independent Power Producers (IPPs) are now at the same level with the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) in terms of installed capacity of hydrpower projects.
With the beginning of commercial generation by Thapakhola Hydropower Project (13.6 MW) and Sardikhola (4 MW) from Sunday, independent power producers are now generating a combined 478 MW.
The installed capacity of the NEA is also 478 MW.
Mustang-based Thapakhola project is built by Mount Kailash Company, while the Sardikhola project in Kaski is developed by Mandakini Hydropower Company.
This is one of the landmark achievements in the hydropower sector by IPPs since the government opened hydropower sector to the private sector by bringing Electricity Act in 1991.
President of Independent Power Producers' Association Nepal (IPPAN), Shailendra Guragain, expressed satisfaction over the landmark achievement. "IPPs will soon surpass the NEA in terms of installed capacity as different projects having combined capacity of 3500 MW installed capacity are in different stages of development," said Guragain. "It took us (private sector) 26 years to arrive at this stage after the government adopted liberal economy."
IPPs say that their involvement in hydropower sector, which needs huge investments with long-term gestation period, was affected for over a decade due to Maoist insurgency.
NEA Spokesperson termed the achievement of the IPPs 'a historic moment' in Nepali hydropower sector.
Only two plants of NEA -- Kulekhani III (14 MW) and Chameliya (30 MW) -- are in the final leg of construction. But many projects promoted by the private sector like Arun Kabeli (25 MW) and Api Hydropower Project (8 MW) are starting generation within few months.
Likewise, projects like Upper Tamakoshi (456 MW), Khanikhola (40 MW), Kharekhola (25 MW), Singati Khola (25 MW) and different four projects in Dordi River having combined capacity of 118 MW and Khimti (12 MW) are likely to start generation within one and half years, according to Guragain.
"However, IPPs need more facilitation to materialize these projects. The government can encourage the private sector by implementing 99-point energy development plan announced in 2016," said Guragain.
The government unveiled the National Energy Crisis Reduction and Electricity Development Decade Plan (2016-2026) last year to address the country's energy crisis by generating more electricity and providing more support to developers.