Lightbulb, Durbar Square, Kathmandu, Nepal
Kathmandu is in an energy crisis. ‘Load shedding’ – a euphemism for scheduled black-outs – is a day-to-day occurrence. Most tourist establishments rely on backup diesel generators to get through power cuts.
Nepal consumes 1.5 times more electricity than it generates, even though the Himalayas provide ample opportunity to tap hydro resources. To close the gap, energy is imported from neighbouring countries. However, India’s recent power crisis led the Indian government to cut in half the energy it delivers to Nepal. This underlines the vulnerability of Nepal’s reliance on its neighbours. Currently the power outage in Nepal is about 46 hours per week.
A solution might be blowing in the wind. Amrit Singh Thapa dreams of one day seeing turbines on the hills surrounding the Kathmandu valley, “Kathmandu has a daily demand for 200MW. Around the Kathmandu Valley we can take 70100MW from the wind energy. We can make in one year a big energy project, and you can’t do that with hydro power,” says Amrit.
According to Amrit, the only thing holding wind energy back is proof to Nepal businesses, government and its people that the technology can work and be sustained. Therefore, he is working on demonstration projects.