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Nepali team urges Australia’s Former Prime Minister Turnbull to facilitate investment in Nepal’s hydropower

Bali, Indonesia: Government representatives, representatives of the private sector and representatives of various stakeholders have appealed to Malcolm Turnbull, the former Prime Minister of Australia, to invest in Nepal’s hydropower development. This request was made during the three-day ‘International Hydropower Conference’ that kicked off in Bali, Indonesia, on Tuesday.

The meeting was coordinated by Sushil Pokharel, the newly appointed Vice President of International Hydro Power Association (IHA), who is also the founder of Biz Bell Energy Pvt Ltd. It was said that Nepal has made hydropower development the main basis of economic development, however the need for international support is crucial.

During the meeting, Chairman of the Electricity Regulatory Commission, Dilli Bahadur Singh informed that the commission has done sufficient work from the regulatory side in terms of expansion of both investment and electricity market. He said that he is always ready to facilitate foreign investment from the side of the regulator.

On the other hand, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Navin Raj Singh said since there are many projects with power purchase agreements with Nepal, sufficient investment is required. “We have projects and as the Indian electricity market is also opening up, the market is also being assured,” he said, “We wish the international forum to provide necessary support to bring in foreign investment.”

Director of Nepal Electricity Authority Prabal Adhikari asserts the need of foreign investment as Nepal can play the role of power house in renewable energy for the entire South Asian region. “In India and Bangladesh, hydropower is the only option for balancing the system as the share of electricity generated by coal is relatively too high,” he said, “We are also working on building sufficient transmission lines targeting the domestic and foreign markets.”

The officials also said that as Nepal has to meet the goal of zero carbon emission by producing 15,000 megawatts of electricity in the near future, appropriate support is expected from foreign investors and international financial institutions. Nepal has made an international commitment to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2045.

“Compared to the past, India is keeping close eyes on Nepal’s electricity sources, while a 400 KV transmission line between Nepal and India has been built and has already been put into operation,” Adhikar said in response to Turnbull’s question about how Nepal can export electricity to India and Bangladesh due to lack of transmission lines. “We are also cooperating. Even going as far as Bangladesh, there have been constant talks and discussions with the high-level authorities of India and Bangladesh,” he added.

Similarly, Bhanu Pokharel, managing director of Urja Developers Pvt. Ltd. and the advisor of Independent Power Producers Association Nepal (IPPAN), said since the era of sustainable hydropower development has begun, Nepal has to increase its investment accordingly. “In recent decades, the private sector of Nepal has made a remarkable leap in hydropower development and this has also helped the government,” he said, “In the context that Mai Beni hydropower station is gold certified, similar work will be done on other projects as well. He stressed on the need for making Nepal a destination for foreign investors for this reason.

After listening to the presentation of the Nepali team, Turnbull promised to provide all possible support for development of Nepal’s hydropower efficiency, investment and other contemporary issues. “We are happy that Nepal is speeding up the development of electricity, now we should continue to develop pumped storage projects in hydroelectricity as well,” he said, adding that even the entire world can be benefited out of this.

During the meeting, it was pointed out that the Nepali team should invest enough in human resources and capacity development. Clarifying this, the Chief Executive Officer of IHA, Eddie Rich, assured that he will try to provide support as per Nepal’s expectations. He mentioned that Pokharel, who was recently elected vice president, will also have a special role in this matter. Pokharel also promised to do his best to attract investment in Nepal through the IHA.

At the same time, IPPAN Secretary Kavita Kandel said that women have poor presence in Nepal’s hydropower development and foreign investors should also pay proper attention to this matter.

The Nepali team incorporated more than 40 people including the Chief Executive Officer of Hydro Electricity Investment and Development Company Limited (HIDCL) Arjun Kumar Gautam; Director of Electricity Development Department of the Authority Nasib Man Singh Pradhan; Ganesh Prasad Neupane of Urja Developers and representatives of the NHA and Bizbell Energy Pvt Ltd.

Source: Urja Khabar

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