Friday, April 8, 2011

An article on energy crisis

April 9, 2011
Dear Colleague

You are an intelligent person and things will become clearer to you if you were to read my full length paper on Arun III which can be accessed by clicking the link below:

Those who don’t agree with me on this should refute my analysis in a convincing manner. Now we need to guard against new incarnation of Arun III which is equally bad; simply because Nepal is in the midst of load shedding but the power from this project will go to India.
With best regards,


Ratna Sansar Shrestha, FCA
Senior Water Resource Analyst
Sent: Monday, April 4, 2011 10:18
To: Ratna Sansar Shrestha
Subject: Re: FW: An article on energy crisis

Ratna Sansarji,

Thanx for the full version of the article. I am not so convinced that cancellation of Arun_III had actually benefited Nepal. But if you say so I would tend to change my earlier held view that its cancellation had done more harm than good.

Thinking about hydro power development in Nepal I have become more and more pessimistic for a number of reasons:

• no analysis of energy needs has categorized different needs for different sectors. What I mean is energy need for every sector is different: how the domestic demand for lighting purpose only (we will never reach the stage when we will start cooking on electricity) is growing and at what rate every year? how the demand for public lighting (lighting government buildings, street lighting, public monuments) is growing and at what rate every year? how is the demand for tourist industry (mainly hotels) growing? how is our water supply going to be fulfilled (even Melamchi needs lots of power to pump water at certain stages to bring it to Kathmandu) etc. why is this important? because we really need to worry about the growing demand for industries if we are ever to become a prosperous nation.

• Look what alternatives do we have: for domestic lighting purposes we can rely on inverters and energy saving lamps or solar systems, for cooking there is no better alternative than cooking gas or even kerosene. For public lighting the government has already initiated work on solar power and same can be done and has to be done for street lighting at each and every corner. Government has started subsidizing the batteries, solar panels and CFLs and people themselves have worked on alternatives rather than waiting for energy from hydro power.

• the policy change in early 80s to encourage domestic investment for small scale hydro power projects was a good move but it has been grossly misused. Moreover we need 40 small projects of 5 MW each to produce 200 MW and the public as well as the banks do not have that kind of capital to invest in 40 MW projects.

• the hydro power planners have made a cardinal mistake by relying on run off the river project which do not provide electricity when it is most needed.

So on and so forth....Until Fukushina nuclear plant hadn't happened I was more than convinced that Nepal should abandon hydro power in favor of nuclear power to fulfill the energy demand at one go. I am still not 100% against nuclear power because our requirement is not that big as compared to other more industrialized countries.
OK...that's all for today...good luck.

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