How you feel when you read above phrase? Ya! Electricity crisis is an actual problem Nepalese people are facing every day since 2006 AD. Load shedding schedule is being calendar of Nepalese people. Living in dark is their daily routine and feels amazed when load-shedding decrease for an hour or two.
Out of total hydropower generation capacity of about 83,000 Megawatt (MW) in the country, about 42,000 MW of power generation appears feasible to dare from financial and technical perspective (HDP, 2001). But less than 2% hydroelectricity of total capacity is being generated (WEC, Nepal). Electrification in Nepal was started in 1911 AD with the establishment of Pharping Hydroelectricity Power Plant. Although more than a century have been passed as history of electrification in Nepal, 69% of the population are out of reach of electricity and remaining are also facing power cut-off for about 18 hours per day (NEA, 2007).
Peak power demand of INPS over the year 2008/09 reached 812.50 MW on January 20, 2009 registering 12.58% increase over peak demand of previous year 721.73 MW (NEA, 2009). Annual energy demand of Integrated Nepal Power System (INPS) for Fiscal Year 2010/11 was estimated at 4833.35 GWh. Out of which 79.67% is supplied from available electricity source and rest is managed by load shedding. Of supplied volume, 81.58% is domestic generation (Independent Power Producers (IPPs) 32. 89%, National Electricity Authority (NEA) owned power stations 67.11% and thermal Plant 3.40 GWh) and rest is imported from India (NEA, 2011). Small hydropower plants have been developed in rural and hilly areas but unable to fulfill the demand.
Effect of Electricity crisis in Nepal.
- Industries have been closed and are closing.
- It decreases revenue of country and increase in commodity price.
- Increase in import of petroleum.
- Increase outward flow of currency.
- Dependency in foreign country.
- Problems in daily activities such as study, cooking food etc.
- Increase in Criminal Activities.
Mitigating Energy Crisis:
1) Efficient Use of Electricity
Efficient use means doing same amount of work using less electricity. As an example high watt incandescent bulbs can be replaced by florescent bulbs to increase efficiency of electricity.
Structural arrangement of houses, walls, and rooms can be changed to maintain room temperature. It reduces use of electricity for fan, heater, AC cooler etc.
For this, public awareness should be created via radio, television, newspaper etc which have more asses with public. Cable line channels can be used since it’s more popular among local peoples.
2) Appropriate policies, Acts and Political Stability
Since 1992, Different acts and policies have been developed and implemented in Nepal for electricity regulation and development. Nepal government announced ten year plan to generate 10,000MW hydroelectricity When Baburam Bhattarai, PhD was finance minster of Nepal. But plan was not implemented due to political instability. So to attain energy sustainability, appropriate policies along with political stability is needed. Energy should become purely economic agenda rather than political.
3) Alternative source of Energy
Alternative source of electricity include renewable energy sources such as micro hydropower, biogas plant, solar panel, briquettes etc. Locally available resources should be utilized to generate electricity to meet the demand.
In Nepal there is potentiality of biogas plant since rural people are following livestock based agriculture system. Potentiality of bio gas plant is around 1.9 million in Nepal (Plain 57%, Hill 37% and Mountain 6%) (Bajgain & Shakya, 2005)(See clean energy scenario reference 29). It also solve latrine problem in rural area. Biogas plant can replace use of electricity for cooking as well as provide light for kitchen in rural area.
Small hydropower will be beneficial to those regions which are out of reach of INPS and should be handed to local people to share the cost and benefit. Local hydropower should be supported by local and central government by providing subsidies, making it tax free etc.
300-350 ton/day waste is generated from Kathmandu valley of which around 70 % of waste is organic (K.C.B., 2007). Energy generated from waste can be used in public buses, cooking etc.
4) Solar Panel and Plant Establishment.
Government should focus on establishment of large solar plant to generate electricity in large scale which should be integrated with INPS. Also government should encourage people to keep solar panel in their home in rural and urban areas. Government should provide subsidies to those who are unable to buy solar panel system making contract with manufacturer.
5) Hydroelectricity Plant establishment
Current problem of load shedding can be solved by establishment of large hydropower plants and utilization of generated electricity in development of Nepal. Availability of abundant water resources and geo-physical features provide ample opportunities for hydropower production in Nepal. Nepal has potential to generate electricity in more than one place from same river. Favorable environment should be provided for donor agencies and private sectors for investment in such projects.
Though electrification in Nepal has started a century ago, Nepal is facing energy crisis due to lack of long term vision of politicians. There is increasing demand of electricity with increase in population and life standard of people. But supply has not increased in the ratio of demand leading to load shedding upto 16 hours. To cope with this problem all available resources should integrated and focus in using local resources to generate energy rather than depending upon imported fossil fuel. This will make Nepal sustainable in energy which helps to change identity of Nepal as poorest country of Asia from self sustainable country in energy and incorporate in main stream of development.
(Note: Various references were taken to write this essay)