August 2: The government is preparing to change the hydropower development modality in the near future. The government is planning to increase production of hydropower energy by adopting a flexible policy based on the feasibility of hydropower development projects.
As per the plan, the government will remain open towards the design of hydropower projects and will not impose any preconditions and limitations on it. It is believed that the hydropower projects will be able to generate more electricity by maximum utilization of water once the government lifts the restrictions on limitation and removes preconditions for developing hydropower projects.
Hydropower projects under the existing Q-40 modality are required to prepare the design while constructing the hydropower plants. There is a possibility of wastage of water under this modality.
Former energy secretary Anup Upadhyay says that the lower the Q level is while increasing the capacity of the project, the wastage of water will be less. If the provision of Q-40 is removed, the developers can adopt a modality to increase production while designing the project.
The government has already removed the provision of designing the semi-reservoir projects (PROR) under the Q-40 model.
A board meeting of Nepal Electricity Authority on June 18 had decided to remove the provision of Q-40 for semi-reservoir projects. Such projects are now required to produce up to 70 percent energy of their installed capacity during rainy season and 30 percent during dry season. This provision was removed only for semi-reservoir based projects but will soon be implemented for reservoir-based hydropower projects as well. Minister for Energy, Hydropower and Irrigation Pampha Bhusal says that the government is holding extensive discussions about this topic.
Speaking at a programme organized in the capital on Sunday, Minister Bhusal said that the Government of Nepal is in favour of removing the provision of ‘Q’ considering its impact on climate change globally.
Minister Bhusal said that the government is also preparing to open power purchase agreement of ROR projects.
The Independent Power Producers Association of Nepal (IPPAN) is also positive about the government’s decision to remove the provision of ‘Q’. IPPAN is of the view that the existing provision has been causing a loss in production capacity of hydropower projects. IPPAN insists that the Q-40 provision is a hindrance to optimal use of hydropower projects and has urged the government to remove it for all kinds of projects.
According to IPPAN President Krishna Acharya, hydropower projects in neighbouring India and Bhutan are built under Q-20 to Q-25 models while Sri Lanka has adopted a policy to develop such projects under the Q-20 model.
“However, Nepal has a provision of Q-40 which is not practical,” says Acharya.
He argues that the government can check the quality and standard of hydropower projects but should not set unnecessary preconditions on production limits.