Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba underlined the need to increase domestic utilisation of hydropower for development activities, saying there was no guarantee that India would buy the Himalayan nation's surplus electricity.
“We need to utilise more and more hydropower within the country to speed up development activities and to fulfill the commitments made at COP 26,” Deuba said while addressing the 19th and 20th Annual General Meeting of Independent Power Producers' Association of Nepal (IPPAN) here.
“As there is no guarantee that India would purchase our surplus electricity, we should increase domestic consumption of hydroelectricity by using more and more electric vehicles across the country and replacing gas heaters with electric stoves,” he said.
“Our country is suffering from the effects of climate change these days as we are experiencing floods and landslides even during winter from west to the east of the country,” the Nepalese Prime Minister said, stressing on the need to reduce the consumption of fossil fuel.
He further said Nepal should take a lead in the field in South Asia.
Minister for Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Pampha Bhushal, who addressed an IPPAN session, said Nepal needs to trade on hydroelectricity besides using it for domestic purposes.
“Nepal has abundant water resources, and if we are to increase power generation as per the government's aim to generate 10,000 MW in ten year's period, we must export it to other countries including India,” she said.
Reiterating the Prime Minister, Land Reform and Management Minister Shashi Shrestha said there is a need to encourage domestic consumption of hydroelectricity instead of relying on the international market.
Increased use of hydropower within the country would help boost industrialisation, which she said, is more beneficial than exporting electricity.
IPPAN President Krishna Prasad Acharya said Nepalese power producers are committed to producing 10,000 MW of hydropower in the next decade and called on the government to help by creating a conducive environment in the hydropower sector.
He asked the government to make arrangements for directly involving the private sector in power trade, provide tax rebate and concessional loans for the promotion of the power sector.
IPPAN is organising Himalayan Hydropower Expo 2022 in April next year, which will also showcase pavilions from Canada and India among others, Acharya announced.
On the occasion, Nepal Hydropower Academy, the first academic institution to provide training on hydropower sector, was also launched at the cost of Rs 300 million.
Nepal recently started exporting its surplus electricity to India at a competitive rate after New Delhi allowed the neighbouring country to trade its power in the Indian power exchange market.
Nepal has a potential to produce 83,000 MW of hydropower of which 4,300 MW is commercially viable.
Currently, it is using just 4.5 percent of its capacity or producing 2,000 MW hydropower.