Clean, Alternative Energy
At a time when the national power grid is often facing generation deficits resulting in frequent power outages, mini and micro hydro plants are doing a great job in solving power crunch at the local level. Solar energy installations at homes and offices have also made remarkable contributions as clean source of alternative energy. These alternative sources of power supply have played an instrumental role towards power self-reliance providing cleaner substitution to imported petroleum fuels that squander a huge amount of hard earned currencies. They also help us to reduce our over dependence on the forest based traditional fuels, one of the principal causes of deforestation. After the crippling economic sanctions of India in 2015, Nepal has learned important lessons on energy crisis, energy self-sufficiency and the consequence of over dependence on a single neighbour. Blessed with abundant water resources, Nepal has good potential for generating hydro power which is clean and renewable. This can help Nepal achieve the goal of energy self-sufficiency and save vast amount of money that we spend to import petroleum fuels. This clean energy also reduces the use of fuel wood and save the environment. Burning of excessive fossil fuels brings air pollution and ultimately contributes to global warming and climate change. Reduction in the import of petroleum fuels both for transport and household purposes will save a lot of money which can be invested in hydropower projects. Less use of fossil fuels and regeneration of forest cover adds feather in the cap of the nation for promoting clean energy and green economy.
Implementation of mini and micro hydro projects is important for promoting clean energy, adopting green economy and attaining self-sufficiency. Nepal’s hills have a lot of potential for such projects as they can be built with smaller investment. Big hydropower projects require huge investments, expertise and time for construction. They may also cause adverse environmental consequences such as inundation, drying up of some rivers and affect the local ecology. But the mini and micro hydro projects can work wonders to meet the energy demands at the local level. Add to them the installation of solar and wind turbine schemes and we can make significant contribution in energy self-dependence. As per a news report carried by this daily, the total amount of electricity generated by the mini and micro hydro plants has reached 31 megawatts. Similarly, solar power systems have been installed in 850,643 homes across the country. Though vast chunk of the energy is used in the urban areas, the demand in the small towns, market areas and even villages have been increasing over the years. Alternative energy schemes can make significant contribution in meeting these demands. Officials at the Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC) say that alternative energy projects have helped to meet 3.2 per cent of the total energy use. These renewable energy projects have benefitted 14 million people through subsidies, finance credits, power supply, technical support and livelihood support. Hydropower has also been harnessed to operate water mills at the local level. In addition, biogas plants and improved cooking stoves have helped the people through the use of clean energy and efficient use of energy.