The Federation of Nepal Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) will begin rural hydropower projects in 45 districts, according to media reports.

The move follows and agreement by Norway to offer technical expertise. The FNCCI and Association of District Development Committee Nepal (ADDCN) had planned a micro-hydropower project in the rural regions to end load shedding.

FNCCI along with ACCDN had intended to begin 1MW to 5MW capacity projects in 45 districts using local funding.

Norwegian development programme (NORAD) and Norwegian development fund (NORFund) are showing their interest in micro-hydropower,” said FNCCI president Kush Kumar Joshi, who acompanied Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda” to Norway and Finland.

Nepal is suffering an acute shortage of electricity these days and micro-hydropower can be a solution. The present power cuts stretch to 16 hours a day.

“Norway has consented to help in the technical part, mainly in full utility,” Pradhanang clarified. He added that 126MW electricity can be generated if the existing power plants are utilised to full capacity. Nepal is currently facing a shortage of 280MW in winter and 80MW in the rainy season.

HDF is to provide a technical proposal to NOR Fund through the Norwegian embassy in Nepal.

The FNCCI team did not found windmills viable for Nepal. “There is no adequate study of this sector,” said Joshi. According to a preliminary study of APG, a wind-power company, Nepal has the capacity for generating 3000MW electricity from wind-power. “It is costly too,” Joshi said. He pointed out two places – Batase Danda of Palpa and Nagarkot of Bhaktapur – where windmills can be set up.

“If there is the political will and support we can generate at least 100MW electricity through rural micro-hydropower projects in two years,” said Pradhanang. This would also generate opportunities for investment and employment in rural regions and help decrease proverty, he said. FNCCI is planning to develop these rural hydropower projects under the public private partnership model.