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Electricity output slated to double in next fiscal year

   March 19, 2019        297        Sangam Prasain

Nepal’s electricity output is slated to double in the next fiscal year 2019-20 when another 983 MW will be fed into the national grid, the Energy Ministry said on Monday. The expected increase in energy generation is almost equal to the maximum annual production of 1,027 MW.

The country’s electricity requirement totals 1,200 MW, and with a bevy of power plants poised to churn out more than 2,200 MW from next year, the bad old days of load-shedding will be permanently gone, according to analysts.

Energy Secretary Dinesh Kumar Ghimire told the parliamentary Finance Committee on Monday that 23 projects, including the 456 MW Upper Tamakoshi, were on track to come into operation by the next fiscal year and put out 983 MW. The Upper Tamakoshi is expected to come online by November and will fulfil Nepal’s energy requirement during the dry season, Ghimire said.

This fiscal year, 18 privately funded hydropower projects are scheduled to roar into life. According to him, 287 MW will be added to the national grid by this fiscal year ending mid-July. This energy will come from the 60 MW Upper Trishuli 3A, 14 MW Kulekhani-3 and 22 MW Bagmati Hydroelectric and other projects. Three projects have already entered the testing phase. Ghimire told lawmakers that his ministry had achieved 36 percent of the capital expenditure target as of the second quadrimester.

Madhusudan Adhikari, secretary of the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport, told the House panel that they would require more than Rs42 billion to prepare detailed feasibility studies of two proposed railway projects in the next two years.

Adhikari said they would need Rs35 billion over two years to prepare a detailed feasibility study of the Kathmandu-Kerung railway. A detailed feasibility study of the Birgunj-Kathmandu railway will cost around Rs7 billion.

He told lawmakers that pre-feasibility studies of both rail project had been completed. Last December, the National Railway Authority of China handed over the pre-feasibility study report of the Kathmandu-Kerung railway to Nepali officials.

Adhikari said that capital expenditure of the projects under the ministry had reached 38 percent as of the second quadrimester.

“During the winter, the physical progress of road projects are not visible as asphalt repairs and paving projects are not undertaken. With the beginning of summer, we expect expenditure to rise significantly,” he said, adding that the ministry was expected to achieve 100 percent capital expenditure by the end of this fiscal year.

Financial Comptroller General Surya Prasad Gautam said that Rs91 billion out of the Rs313 billion capital budget had been spent in the second quadrimester. This represents 29 percent progress and is not bad if past capital expenditure is taken into account, he said. Gautam said that during the second quadrimester in the last fiscal year 2017-18, capital expenditure was 30 percent.

Finance Secretary Rajan Khanal told parliamentarians that the government was optimistic about achieving 85 percent progress in capital expenditure this fiscal year. “We have never achieved 85 percent progress in spending before. If the target is met, it will be the highest ever capital budget expenditure,” he said. “Based on the progress reported by different ministries, we are on track to meet the target,” he said. “Khanal said that the highest capital expenditure recorded was in 2012-13 when the country achieved 83 percent progress in capital budget spending.

The Kathmandu Post

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