DARBANG, Nepal — The government of Nepal, with support and assistance from the World Bank (WB), is bringing electricity to some of the nation’s most rural areas. In an effort to make the country more self-sufficient and environmentally friendly, the government is installing micro-hydro plants to secure a sustainable and renewable energy source for communities.
With the World Bank’s help, over 1,000 micro-hydro plants
have been constructed in 52 different districts. The renewable energy source brings power
to remote towns, greatly improving local business and industry.
In the small town of Darbang, Nepal, the local economy has been booming since the construction of the micro-hydro plant in 2009. A village once completely in the dark, now has a metal workshop, furniture and cement manufacturing companies and poultry and dairy farms. The micro-hydro plant provides renewable energy to all of these industries as well as over 700 households in the surrounding area.
The success of the Darbang plant illustrates the capabilities of Nepal’s initiative to increase the country’s renewable energy and bring power to people throughout the country. The micro-hydro plant construction is administrated through Nepal’s Alternative Energy Promotion Center and receives most of its funding from the WB.
All of the projects are community based, using local labor to build and maintain the plants. Nearly all of a plant’s parts and equipment are manufactured within Nepal. WB officials also set up training programs for people in the towns on how to run the plants to ensure that the plants continue to be used for many years to come.
The renewable energy produced each month from the plant increases capital flow and employment in the area. Payment from household and business users is applied to paying off the plant loan as well as to paying the staff and maintenance workers. To encourage business, the plants offer a low flat rate to companies.
In addition to increasing business, the plants have helped raise the standard of living for those in rural Nepal. With a consistent and continued supply of renewable energy, rural villages can prosper. People now not only have better access to necessities like food and sanitation
, but also can connect to the global community with television and Internet access.
Micro-hydro plants also help the environment. They provide clean, renewable energy, and replace the kerosene and wood people in villages burn to generate power. The replacement significantly assists in reducing Nepal’s carbon and pollution emissions.
The construction of the 1,000 plants is only the beginning. Nepal has tremendous hydropower potential because of its geography, and the government plans to continue construction of plants in its pursuit to further employ renewable energy sources.
The micro-hydro plant initiative has been largely successful in bringing clean, renewable energy to remote parts of Nepal. The government’s work to ensure that the plants are community based efforts makes the investment practical and sustainable. With plans to continue constructing plants, Nepal hopes to secure a renewable energy source that will power the nation into the future.
– Kathleen Egan
Sources: World Bank, Alternative Energy Promotion Center, Nepal Micro Hydropower Development Association
Photo: Engineering for Change