Nepal’s President Bidhya Devi Bhandari urged industry leaders on Friday in Kathmandu to tap into the country’s hydropower to provide clean energy and accelerate economic growth.
Inaugurating a three-day Himalayan hydro expo in Kathmandu, Bhandari said exploiting hydropower potential, which had been delayed due to political instability, would ensure prosperity for the next generation.
“Our country is rich in hydro resources but in order to capitalize on it, we need a combination of national and foreign investment and technology,” she said in her inaugural address.
“ development will play a vital role in raising the income of people and overall growth. At a time when people pay higher prices for energy sources such as coal, gas petrol in the midst of their diminishing reserves, is poised to become a reliable source of energy for the next generation,” she said.
Held for the first time in Nepal, the expo is aimed at showcasing the latest technologies from industry leaders to the country’s burgeoning power sector.
Hari Bhakta Sharma, president of the Confederation of Nepali Industries, said to attract hydropower funds, including climate change funds and private equity funds, investments are required. He also urged the government to allow companies to issue local currency bonds.
Organized by the Independent Power Producers’ Association (IPPAN), the expo has brought together dozens of multinational companies including CMC from Italy, Voith in Germany, Indian companies Chrystal, Flovel and BFL, Vaptech from Bulgaria, of the Czech Republic, PowerChina and CSEC from China.
Hydropower developers, equipment manufacturers, suppliers investors are showcasing their products at approximately 200 stalls at the Bhrikutimandap Exhibition Complex in Kathmandu, according to the organizers.
A series of sessions and workshops on technical and business aspects of hydropower are also being held during the expo.
Nepal has the potential to generate at least 40,000 megawatts (MW) of hydroelectricity, but its current output stands at 900 MW. Projects that will generate more than 3,500 MW of hydroelectricity are under construction.
Last year, the government pledged to increase total hydropower to 17,000 MW over the next seven years.
By Deepak Adhikari in Kathmandu, Nepal