Pokhara: Energy entrepreneurs have expressed concern towards limited research and data in the area of disaster risk reduction in hydropower sector. Speaking at an event in Pokhara, secretary of Independent Power Producers of Nepal (IPPAN) of Gandaki Province, Sushil Pokharel stated that the government needs to focus on studies on environmental sustainability in relation to clean energy. “While there is a significant focus on the geological impact caused by hydropower projects, there are limited studies about the impact of natural disasters in hydropower infrastructure and investment”.
IPPAN members during the discussion claimed that infrastructure worth more than Rs 10 billion was lost during this monsoon season in Gandaki province alone. “We are ready to support the government in such studies as it will help developers to be familiar about potential geological risk,” he said.
Speaking at the event Chief Minister of the province Krishna Chandra Nepali assured the developers to facilitate in addressing the existing issues and assured that the government will play a supportive role to bring more investment in the hydropower sector. Hari Sharan Acharya, Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Minister, expressed commitment to developing a mechanism to reduce the impact of the disaster in such projects. “As hydropower sector contribute towards overall infrastructural and economic development, our priority is towards generation along with distribution and transmission of electricity,” he said.
Similarly, the chairperson of IPPAN Krishna Prasad Acharya pointed out that inter-ministerial coordination was one of the major challenges of hydropower developers. He requested the government officials to form a nodal agency so that one-window policy could come into effect.
Jagat Pokharel, coordinator of IPPAN, Gandaki stressed the need of more scientific studies on disaster risk reduction to minimize the potential disaster risks.
According to the data of the Planning Commission of Gandaki Province, the province has around 28 percent of country’s total techno-commercial feasible capacity of hydropower. At present, hydropower projects of 929 MW capacity are under construction, while projects with a total capacity of 569 MW are in operation. Despite the huge potential, more than 18 percent population of Gandaki Province do not have access to electricity.