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TOPICS: Energy woes

  

MARGIE MAINALI

One of the greatest discoveries made by the human beings is energy. Now, it has become one of the key components for economic development. Energy is produced using diverse sources. Among them a few are from wind, solar, hydro, and fossil fuels. A country like Nepal finds hydro-electric power generation the best of many options, because it is a renewable, sustainable and environmentally friendly, and it is the second richest country in water resources. Hydro-electric generator produces electricity by constructing dams to flow water from a height so that it runs the turbine.

Nepal has the capacity of producing electricity of 84,000 MW but it has only been able to generate 700 to 800 MW at the maximum. If only the plants produced 1500 MW of electricity, no citizen of this country would face the problem of load-shedding. It is one of the most common problems in every household today. While developed countries are shifting towards renewable sources of energy like wind and hydro-power, we are being more dependent on non-renewable sources of energy to carry out our daily activities. Many big and small hydro-power projects have been implemented, but the construction of dams to generate electricity is inadequate for large scale generation. The load-shedding hours tower at 1 hour a day to 12-14 hours a day, less in summer and more in winter.

The main advantage of hydro-electric power generation is that it does not depend on uranium, oil or any other fossil fuels. Hence, it has no side effects, which are the nuclear plants main disadvantages. Once the dams are constructed, there is no malicious by-product.

But all of that comes from hard efforts. Constructing huge dams and turbines is very costly and requires good engineering. This is also time-consuming and completion can take years. In Nepal, the government’s fund for the development of hydro-projects is being abused. From the engineers to the site contractor, many selfish people are responsible for causing this misery to others. I visited a hydropower plant in Jiri, which is under construction, and people lamented over the meagre progress of the project. Similar is the condition of many small hydro-projects.

Hydro-electric power generation has therefore been criticized for some of its impacts and on the other hand, has also been acclaimed for its benefits to the people. We can say that with better ideas and management this system can be used for a long time. Small hydro-projects can give people hope that every Nepali would live their life without wondering about power schedules.

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