‘Only 10% hydropower potential of Gandaki Basin tapped’
By Modnath Dhakal, Kathmandu, Aug. 20: Only 10 per cent of total hydropower production potential of the Gandaki Basin has been harnessed so far.
The basin has the potential of 5,270 megawatt of hydroelectricity of which only 523 MW has been produced.
According to the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), 13 districts in the Gandaki Basin have hydroelectricity projects where Syangja is the largest contributor to the national grid with 149 MW hydroelectricity while Palpa has a hydropower project with 0.8 MW capacity.
The144-MW Kaligandaki A is in Syangja district.
Similarly, 92 MW hydroelectricity has been generated in Makwanpur, 83 MW in Lamjung, 69 MW in Tanahun, 43.1 MW in Nuwakot and 27 MW in Rasuwa districts.
Nawalparasi and Makwanpur districts have wind-solar mini grid pilot project and mini grid replication, respectively.
A 12-KW capacity solar-wind hybrid system was installed by the Practical Action Nepal in Dhaubadi of Nawalparasi.
Practical Action’s Director Achyut Luitel informed that after the pilot project was completed, such projects would be replicated in other potential areas.
Likewise, Mustang district of the Gandaki Basin have solar micro hydro mini-grid while micro hydro mini-grid synchronization project is under way in Baglung which has the largest number of micro-hydro projects in the country.
Data compiled by Himalayan Adaptation, Water and Resilience Research (HI-AWARE), an initiative of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), shows that 73 per cent of the households in the basin have access to the national grid for electricity, with 7 per cent electrified by micro hydropower projects.
Approximately 20 per cent people in the basin still live in the darkness without access to electricity, which is more common in the mountainous districts of the basin, said a report of HI-AWARE.
Kaski has the largest percentage of households with access to the national grid. About 93 per cent households of the district have access to the national grid while Manang does not have access to it.
HI-AWARE informed that although the electricity was massively used for lighting, dependency on it for cooking is poor.
More than two thirds, approximately 71 per cent, households depend on firewood for cooking while 21 per cent use LP gas and 6 per cent use biogas. Only 1 per cent households depend on electricity and kerosene for cooking purposes.
The Gandaki Basin includes 19 districts or Central and Western Nepal – four districts in the mountains, 12 in the hills and three in the plains.