By Prajwal Shrestha
The Kathmandu Valley has been declared load shedding free area and the government is making efforts to declare the entire Nepal as a load-shedding free area. We commend the effort of the Energy Minister Janardan Sharma and Kulman Ghising, the general manager of the Nepal Electricity Authority. However, Radha Gyawali, former energy minister is claiming that grounds were developed during her time and now the minister and NEA chief are enjoying the credit. Be that as it may, it is all clear that until Ghishing’s was assigned as the general manager, the entire nation was experiencing hour’s long load-shedding. Even during the rainy season, we were not free from the load-shedding. The previous officials in the NEA have been alleged for making commission from different ill-intentioned business groups by imposing artificial load-shedding. Ghishing, on his part, has said that not because of any miracle but because of proper management, he was able to end load-shedding. He also revealed that he gave priority on replacing old transformers and wires and made efforts to reduce electricity leakage, which is very high. Surely, the previous corrupt officials didn’t pay attention on these efforts as they were habituated to enjoy commission through corruption for managing electricity supply. Look, during this period last year, we were experiencing load-shedding for 14 hours a day. To completely end 14-hour-long load-shedding seems to be a miracle, although, Ghishing claims that it has been possible after managing demand of the electricity. This has proved that we can do many things if our intention is good.
However, all is not good if we don’t do enough homework to meet the future demands. Currently too, we are importing power worth 300 MW from India. To import power from India is not good. The government has aimed at importing further 600 MW power from India to meet local demand even though we have a huge potentiality of generating hydropower. Nevertheless, the Energy Minister has initiated several plans including construction of hydropower through Nepali people’s investment. This has given message that we can construct hydropower projects on our own investment. Furthermore, if amended regulations of the Nepal Army Welfare Fund and other welfare funds, we can construct many medium scale hydropower projects from our own investment. First of all, we should develop the mentality that we should not rely on foreign grants and donation on basic infrastructural projects but we should try to construct low-cost hydropower projects for market consumption from which we can supply electricity at a subsidized price. If the factories will get electricity at subsidized price, automatically, the production cost of our products will reduce, from which, our products can compete in the international market.
It takes several years and also huge amount to complete one hydropower project. Therefore, to meet immediate need of electricity and also to stop import of power from India, we need to give top priority to the other means of renewable energies such as solar energy, wind energy, among others. The government had introduced the policy for compulsorily installing solar panels along with endorsing house map from the local authorities. This plan has to be made effective. Furthermore, the government should encourage all the house owners to install solar panel at rooftop with the purpose of generating electricity. Also, the government should develop the mechanism of purchasing solar power from the house owners during the daytime with the purpose of supplying energy in the power industries. In such way, every house owner will be benefited and will also be encouraged for producing energy from the solar plants. Accordingly, the government should give emphasis on wind-turbine plants.
Meanwhile, the government has installed solar lights in roads in the Kathmandu city but everyone can see the solar panels are covered by dust. Along with installation of such solar lights, the government has to pay attention on regular maintenance and cleaning of the panels as well. The Japan government had installed solar light for the Kathmandu traffic but due to lack of maintenance, none of the traffic lights are in operation. This is misuse of foreign.
Load-shedding free era
By Prajwal Shrestha