- MH in Nepal
MH in Nepal in current situation
Electricity in Nepal was introduced in 1911 with establishing Pharping Powerhouse in Pharping, Kathmandu. The powerhouse, second in South Asia was established in cooperation of Britain has been equipped to generate 500 kilowatt of electricity. The country has been able to harness nearly 900 MW within the period of one century and some years so far. Some ongoing hydro power projects will start generating about 650 MW of electricity within three years. However increasing demand of electricity facility cannot be filled up by the hydropower projects expected to be connected to the national grid. Power imports from neighboring country will also not in the position to relieve people to face long hour power cut situations in dry seasons.
In the rural areas where there are micro hydropower plants have been installed, however, do not need to impose load shedding as they ‘stay alone’ without aligning to the national grid system.
The history of micro hydropower starts with enthusiasm to im
prove water mills aiming to perform water mills better and generate electricity of nominal capacity. With successful results the enthusiasts started to look for wider options.
The first micro hydropower plant of 5 kW capacity was installed in Godavari, Kathmandu with the Swiss Assistance in 1962 AD. Since then around 3,300 MHPs have been installed in the cou
ntry in hilly and mountains locations. These mini/micro/pico hydropower plants are generating close to 30,000 kW of installed capacity to provide electricity for about 350,000 households approximately. Lighting has been the main benefit of MHPs. Grinding, hulling, water pumping are also done with electricity generated by MHPs and also powered to operate computers, photo studios, poultry farms and some small industries.
As radios, televisions and internet are used in the villages, electricity has been a meaning to provide opportunity to get latest and useful information to the users, they get news and views of national and international importance and useful tips for their occupational betterment as well. Students can study in the evenings in bright lights. Women find their drudgery reduced and time saved to use in income generating or other beneficial works. Thus, MHP has been proved to be instrumental in remote villages where access of electricity through grid connection is synonymous to a dream. The efforts made by organizations like ITDG Nepal (now Practical Action), IUCN, ICIMOD, Agricultural Development Bank, different educational institutes etc. and dedicated professionals of MH sector are to be appreciated to bring the encouraging results in this sector.
Gradually a few workshops and technicians obtained knowledge and skill to manufacture and all required technology for MHP. However it took around 30 years to be a discipline of industries. The technicians and entrepreneurs have been able to carry jobs for survey, design, manufacturing of turbines and equipment, installation, commissioning as classified jobs as per their professional expertise in the later phase. Likewise, the hydropower plants generating up to 10kW of electricity have been redefined as Pico Hydro, plants to generate above 10 kW but up to 100 kW are Micro Hydro and Mini Hydro are to generate up to 1000 kW.
The establishment of state authority Govt. of Nepal/Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC) in November, 1996 was a historical event for the sector. UNDP/ Rural Energy Development Programme (REDP) has fully utilized MH and other RET’s successfully to uplift the living standard of rural population during the programme period of August 1996 to April 2011 and continued by Renewable Energy for Rural Livelihood (RERL) till March, 2014. The Energy Sector Assistance Programme (ESAP) of DANIDA was inducted for AEPC programmes in 1996. Due to these and other activities RE sector in general and MH in particular has emerged as potential energy sector of Nepal
National Rural and Renewable Energy Programme has been introduced by AEPC as one single programme to carry out promotions of renewable energy resources in the country with effective from 16 July, 2012 for 5 years. DANIDA, Swedish government, Norwegian fund, The World Bank, Asian Development Bank, UNDP, kfw, SNV joined their hands to support the fruitful outcome of NRREP which will last till Mid July, 2017.
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