27 May - 2 June 2016 #810

Future power house of South Asia

The Nepal Power Investment Summit next week will send a message to the world that Nepal is ready for foreign investment in renewable energy projects.
Sujit Acharya
Sharmila Budhathoki

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To send a key message to the world that Nepal’s energy sector is open for business, the Energy Development Council with the Investment Board of Nepal and the Ministry of Energy are organising the Nepal Power Investment Summit from 31 May to 3 June in Kathmandu.

For the first time ever, the entire energy sector of Nepal has come together to convey the message to the world that Nepal is ready to attract investors and partners in the development of our renewable energy resources.

This is also one of the first times that a meeting is being held that will bring together foreign investors, contractors, consultants and high powered speakers from all over the world. Large scale projects will be showcased and both foreign and Nepali companies will be exhibiting their products and projects at the event.

Nepal has always wanted foreign investment in energy, but it has not always been able to make a persuasive argument about why they should choose us. Investors do not put money in out of a sense of altruism, or just because a symbolic red carpet is laid out for them. They look at hard numbers, and if they add up and match the desired rate of return, only then will they show interest. Next week’s Summit will present a clear case for Nepal as the number one destination in South Asia and the top three emerging markets in Asia to make renewable energy investments.

We want to promote Nepal as the future power house of South Asia, but large-scale investors have been discouraged by political instability and government hurdles. Yes, doing business in Nepal is risky. The frequent change of governments is one of the pitfalls. But along with such risks investors find correspondingly higher rewards here than they would in other countries. Therefore, via this Summit we are clearly stating that we are seeking those investors in particular that are looking to make the highest returns in South Asia and also willing to take on such risks to achieve returns. But we are also acknowledging that we have to mitigate the risks and let investors know that we know where the problems lie. Higher risk-taking investors seeking higher returns will not pull out of Nepal.

Nepal has large scale opportunities in the renewable energy sector. The urban solar opportunity in the country could easily cross the $1 billion mark. Hydropower projects from both the government and private sector showcased during the Summit are in a similar range.

Nepal offers the highest power purchase rates offered in South Asia for hydropower and solar energy. The highest electricity generation per unit from both hydropower and solar plants are again found in Nepal. We will prove that Nepal is the place in South Asia offering the highest returns on investments in renewable energy projects.

We are going to continue to make our case to investors and improve our regulatory environment. Next time, we plan to take the Summit overseas to where the investors are located. We will also be presenting the findings for policy improvements requested by our foreign delegates to the relevant stakeholders in the government, who will also be attending.

Sujit Acharya is the chairperson of the Energy Development Council


Read also:

Power Struggle, Editorial

Kickstarting solar projects, Avishek Malla

Private sector lead in grid solar system

Mustering the energy to face the future, Om Astha Rai

Be smart, go electric, Smriti Basnet

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