Govt to declare ‘energy emergency’ this week

The government will be declaring an “energy emergency” within a week after formulating the related policy and programmes to promote energy, Finance Minister Bishnu Poudel said.

Addressing a programme on Friday, he said that the government would be bringing out a clear policy for short- and long-term plans in the power sector.

“What is an energy emergency? What are its solutions? The planned energy emergency will include all these subjects,” he said. “Due to delays in energy production, the country has failed to achieve growth. Hence, we should not have any delays now.”

Poudel said that the government would also launch programmes under the energy emergency to resolve “legal problems” that have been affecting the development of hydropower in the country.

Poudel said that the government had accorded priority to installing transmission lines, and would expedite the projects that have been delayed due to the earthquake and fuel crisis. The Independent Power Producers’ Association Nepal had recently urged the government to declare an energy emergency in the country and put in place necessary arrangements to speed up the construction of hydropower projects.

The association has estimated that 10,000 MW of electricity will be required to deal with the severe energy shortage that the country is currently facing, and has asked the government to declare Nepal an energy crisis-hit country until the target is achieved.

The planned energy emergency, the third one time in eight years, was prompted by a severe energy crisis caused by lowered production from hydropower plants. In December 2008, the Maoist-led government had declared an energy emergency; and in March 2011, the Jhalanath Khanal-led government had issued a similar declaration.

During the energy emergency in 2011 which lasted four and a half years, the government had planned to generate 2,500 MW and formed a powerful three-member Energy Crisis Control Commission. The scheme also included setting up thermal plants and reducing power leakage by 20 percent within six months.

However, there was not much progress in the development of hydropower projects. The installed capacity of all the hydropower projects currently stands at 787 MW, but output drops by half in the winter due to reduced water flow in the rivers. Nepal’s peak hour demand for energy presently stands at nearly 1,500 MW.

Source : The Kathmandu Post