HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Newly appointed Environment Minister Keshav Sthapit today said the Cabinet had decided to merge the Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC) — the largest wing of the Ministry of Environment with the Ministry of Energy without the consent of his ministry.
According to sources, the decision to shift the centre to the Energy Ministry came in for a lot of criticism from donor agencies and other stakeholders who have been implementing various projects through the centre.
“We have developed district level and even village level networks and are going to implement a Rs 16 billion project, but the decision may jeopardise an important project for promoting renewable energy,” said an official at the centre.
AEPC was established in 1996 under the Ministry of Science and Technology to promote renewable energy and later it was put under the Ministry of Environment when the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology was split into Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Science and Technology.
Sources said the Energy Ministry had lobbied to bring the centre under it.
The centre has been working on climate change and energy issues and the Ministry of Environment is the main ministry for dealing with climate change.
Besides, the Environment Ministry has asserted that the centre will be able to function most effectively only if it is placed under it.
“We talk about energy in watts, but the Energy Ministry deals with big projects that count megawatts, so if it is shifted, our programmes may not get priority and work would be affected,” claimed the officials at the centre, who preferred anonymity.
The centre has been working on bio-gas, micro-hydro, solar and wind energy projects.