Micro Hydro Interconnected Mini Grids in Nepal: Potential and Pitfalls

Type Journal Article - Asis Pacific Solar Research Confernece, Brisbane Queensland
Title Micro Hydro Interconnected Mini Grids in Nepal: Potential and Pitfalls
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2015
In Nepal, distributed renewable energy technologies such as Micro Hydro Mini Grids 1
(MHMGs), and Solar Home Systems (SHSs) are cost effective alternatives to electrification
in many remote areas and currently provide electricity to 15% of the population. Micro hydro
is a particularly appropriate alternative source for rural electrification in Nepal, as it possesses
suitable terrain and water resources, and human resources and institutions with appropriate
experience to support such projects. Interconnection of existing MHMGs is currently of
interest, as it has the potential to further enhance the reliability, quality, and availability of
supplied electricity, and the utilisation of these schemes. This paper disseminates experiences
from Urja Upatyaka, where an interconnected mini grid connecting six MHMGs was
developed as a pilot project in western Nepal; as well as insights from a number of other such
interconnected grids at different stages of development in Nepal. Development costs for the
pilot project proved relatively high, and such projects will therefore only be commercially
viable if the project cost can be reduced, or if significant increases in electricity consumption
and hence revenue result from the development of the interconnected mini grid. Nevertheless,
assessment of the pilot project, as well as feasibility studies from the other projects reveal that
these have already delivered many direct benefits, as well as providing lessons which will
facilitate further development of interconnected mini grids. This paper identifies some of the
key benefits of Micro Hydro Interconnected Mini Grids2
(MHIMGs), and factors that can
contribute to their successful deployment and operation.

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