Nepal Purbadhar

शुक्रबार, जेष्ठ ११, २०८१
Friday, May 24, 2024

शुक्रबार, जेष्ठ ११, २०८१
Friday, May 24, 2024

Innovations and Investment: Unveiling Nepal’s Energy Potential at the Hydro Expo

KATHMANDU: Independent Power Producers’ Association Nepal (IPPAN), in collaboration with Event Management Pvt. Ltd. is gearing up for the fourth edition of the Himalayan Hydro Expo 2024, scheduled to commence on April 24th and span three days. Having successfully organized three previous editions in 2018, 2019, and 2022, the expo aims to foster the exchange of innovative ideas and formulate policies conducive to the advancement of green energy for Nepal’s prosperity.

The event serves as a platform bringing together a diverse array of stakeholders, including experts in hydroelectric development, contracting firms, promoters of hydroelectric projects, insurance providers, banking and financial institutions, designers, and potential investors.

The inaugural ceremony will be graced by the esteemed presence of President Ramchandara Poudel. As part of the agenda, IPPAN has arranged a roundtable discussion to underscore the significance of the expo and advocate for the development of green energy initiatives. Among the notable participants in this discussion were IPPAN Chairman Ganesh Karki, Secretary General Balaram Khatiwada, Vijaya Sagar Pradhan, Managing Director of Expo and Event Management Pvt. Ltd., and Pawan Dhakal, CEO of Toyour Hydro Pvt. Ltd. Here is a summary of the discussion:

Question:  What sets the fourth edition of the Himalayan Hydro Expo apart, and how might its unique characteristics contribute to advancements in energy development?

Karki: For the past four years, IPPAN has been organizing the Himalayan Hydro Expo, with significant support from the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources, and Irrigation, as well as the Investment Board Office. The event has garnered cooperation and goodwill from the Indian and British Embassies, along with support from donor agencies like the IFC.

Previously, the expo had a distinct focus, differing from the objectives of the Nepalese government. Despite ample hydroelectric production potential, there was no strategic plan for electricity sales. However, recent developments have shifted the landscape, including agreements with India to sell 10,000 megawatts of electricity over a decade and ambitious plans to generate 28,500 megawatts by 2035, with a significant portion for domestic consumption.

Implementing this plan requires coordinated efforts across private, public, and community sectors, necessitating an investment of Rs 46 billion. Simply having the funds isn’t enough; the energy sector must attract global investors and leverage technological advancements. Collaboration with Nepali stakeholders, both domestically and internationally, is crucial.

The expo holds special significance as Nepal’s energy sector gains momentum, drawing widespread interest from the public and investors. Beyond showcasing products, the event aims to explore various opportunities. The esteemed presence of President Ramchandra Poudel at the inauguration underscores its importance.

Question: Have you been in charge of managing the expo since its inception? How does it feel to have gained a deep understanding of the expo’s evolution over time?

Pradhan: The genesis of the Hydro Expo dates back to 2015, with its first edition materializing in 2018. Despite Nepal grappling with significant challenges, notably pervasive load shedding, the decision to organize the expo was rooted in the belief that it could serve as a platform to raise awareness about hydro-related issues. This commitment to advocacy led to the continued organization of the expo.

Until 2018, electricity production stood at 7,000 megawatts, but by 2024, it surged to 31,036 MWH. This transition underscores the imperative to inform the public about the evolving state of the hydropower market and its future prospects. Achieving the target of 28,500 megawatts has catalyzed market activity, attracting considerable participation from India and other nations.

Initially, accessing information necessitated international travel, but the expo now serves as a comprehensive source of insights for both hydropower developers and the general public. This accessibility has democratized knowledge acquisition, eliminating the need for costly overseas ventures to explore technology. Notably, foreign production companies are now actively engaging in the Nepalese market, reflecting the sector’s growing appeal.

Consequently, there has been a notable uptick in investments in hydropower, indicative of the burgeoning interest and confidence in the sector’s potential.

Question: Have you been monitoring the Himalayan Hydro Expo since its inception, and is IPPAN taking the lead in its organization? How has the management of the event evolved over time, considering the circumstances from the past to the present?

Khatiwada: When the expo debuted, both organizational capacity and investment in the sector were limited. Initially, foreign representation and investor participation were scarce, with just a handful of construction equipment and supply companies known. However, the landscape has since transformed, with a proliferation of expos and increased interest from production and investment firms. Efforts are now being made on a broader scale, promising improved outcomes.

Recent strides in event organization are evident. Upon achieving the targeted 28,500 megawatts of production, Nepal could potentially emerge as the world’s largest hydropower market. Producers are investing in anticipation of robust future market conditions and income prospects. Consequently, there has been a surge in investment and expansion within the hydropower sector compared to previous years. Simultaneously, public interest has grown in tandem with these developments.

Question: Have you been engaged in expo participation for an extended period? What advantages do you perceive from participating, and have you maintained a consistent presence?

Dhakal: Exhibitions are not only a local affair but are also widespread globally, with numerous events held abroad each year. This year, we plan to participate in expos across three foreign locations. What sets Nepal’s expo apart is its scale and direct engagement opportunities with developers. These expos provide a platform for direct dialogue with suppliers and hydro developers, facilitating ground-level interactions. It’s a valuable opportunity for foreign companies as well, enabling them to engage with developers, consulting firms, and financiers in one centralized location.

Participation in the expo is crucial for promoting goods and services and fostering interactions at both local and international levels. Personally, I have been actively involved in expo participation since the inception, recognizing its significance in advancing our objectives.

Question: Having previously organized the expo three times, you are now gearing up for the fourth edition. What sets this upcoming expo apart from its predecessors, making it an inclusive event for all participants?

Karki: The dynamics of the expo have undergone a transformation over time. Previously, attendance was driven by a desire to explore the market; now, the market itself gravitates towards us. We’ve shifted from merely observing the market in Nepal to being observed by it. Our knowledge of suppliers and manufacturers used to be limited to the present moment, but today’s demands and perceptions have evolved.

Initially, there were only a handful of developers, but now we boast a significant presence of 500 to 600 developers, with new projects emerging regularly. Each passing year brings fresh innovations to the forefront, keeping us on the lookout for novel offerings. The expo serves as a vital platform where diverse issues find comprehensive solutions under one roof.

The participation of various developers elevates the expo’s appeal on the global stage, attracting interest from the international market. While the investment focus remains on the energy sector, other industries also recognize the symbiotic relationship with energy development. Accessing crucial information on investment opportunities and market insights at the expo sets this edition apart from its predecessors. With numerous distinctions from past expos, our expectations and hopes are high for an even more successful event this time around.

Question: What sets this expo apart or what unique features will ensure broad participation this time around?

Khatiwada: The scope of this expo encompasses a comprehensive array of offerings, ranging from complete construction materials to specialized tools utilized in the field. Services spanning insurance to banking facilities, along with assistance in obtaining hydropower licenses and support extending to electricity production, are all part of the agenda. The aim is to cater to diverse demands by providing relevant information and facilitating technical discussions.

The technical sessions will delve into strategies for maximizing electricity sales generated through the expo, addressing aspects such as internal consumption and methods to attract investment.

Additionally, there will be sessions focusing on women’s leadership development and expert-led discussions covering various pertinent topics. Market-specific subjects have also been incorporated to ensure relevance and engagement across all sectors.

Question: What new elements have been introduced to the expo compared to previous editions?

Pradhan: At the Hydro Expo, the primary focus will be on stalls related to the hydropower sector, offering a platform to gather suggestions and insights from experts on fostering Nepal’s development in Green Energy Prosperity. Additionally, the expo will feature the display of hydrogen cars, following successful tests conducted by Kathmandu University, aiming to captivate a wide audience.

Furthermore, the exhibition will showcase concepts developed by student groups, alongside hosting a Hydro Power Product competition open to individual submissions. Institutional support will be extended to selected ideas, fostering innovation and collaboration. Management students have also been included in recognition of their essential role in effectively managing the technical aspects of hydropower.

Prizes will be awarded to the top three entries, with rewards of 44 thousand, 22 thousand, and 11 thousand respectively. The expo will offer invaluable benefits to hydro developers and stakeholders, with participation spanning all categories of hydro-related products.

Additionally, this year’s expo will feature a two-minute video highlighting the principles of Green Energy Prosperity. Notably, the inclusion of a student category adds another layer of attraction, providing students with the opportunity to showcase their products and expand their knowledge and skills through participation in the expo.

 Question: Does IPPAN solely curate exhibits and services for the Hydro Expo, or are there other components incorporated into the event?

Karki: IPPAN hosts 6 to 7 sessions during the expo, focusing on key topics such as investment opportunities in Nepal, the benefits of investment, and strategies for exporting to foreign markets, particularly addressing challenges in exporting to India and proposing solutions. These sessions aim to attract investment in the hydropower sector and underline the expo’s evolution compared to previous editions.

Recognizing that national development extends beyond hydropower alone, sessions are designed to broaden understanding on this matter. Topics include women’s leadership, empowerment, social awareness, and discussions on electricity trade between Nepal and India. Additionally, sessions will cover the significance of investment and insurance in Nepal, providing practical guidance on engaging with relevant stakeholders in the investment sector and financial institutions.

The expo reflects a shift in the market landscape, with a notable increase in developer participation, now reaching 700 competitors. Efforts are dedicated to understanding and engaging with these developers to foster new developments.

Moreover, the expo will feature programs focusing on energy trade discussions, strategies for increasing electricity sales, boosting domestic electricity consumption, and exploring various financial models. These discussions will involve relevant stakeholders to ensure their effectiveness.

Question: What role do expos like these play in advancing business development?

Dhakal: Expos are crucial platforms for marketing new products promptly upon their market entry. They provide valuable assistance in promoting existing products while also facilitating the expansion of new ones. This proactive approach ensures that we remain competitive in our domestic market.

Question: What are the anticipated benefits of the Hydro Expo Investment Conference?

Karki: The aspiration to achieve prosperity in Nepal is shared by both the government and its people. With a target of generating 28,000 megawatts of electricity by 2035, necessitating an investment of 4.6 billion, efforts to attract investors are already underway, with ongoing endeavors to further entice potential stakeholders. Policy enhancements by the government are also deemed necessary prior to the investment conference, emphasizing the importance of articulating the benefits of investing.

Invitations have been extended to investors and suppliers from across the globe, along with consultants and designers from various countries. Comprehensive preparations, both domestic and foreign, are being undertaken to facilitate product sales and investments. The objective is to translate the Nepali government’s vision into tangible outcomes, underscoring a collective eagerness and commitment to the nation’s development. It is hoped that this conference will align seamlessly with the government’s investment agenda.

Question: What competition will be held in this expo?

Pradhan: We are organizing a competition titled “Hydropower Product and Service,” aiming to showcase innovative ideas on how individuals can contribute to the advancement of hydropower. Students will demonstrate various technologies developed at their level, as well as digitalization-related exhibitions. These projects will be evaluated by a panel of judges, and prizes will be awarded based on their assessment.

Question: How the expo is beneficial to audience and other stakeholders?

Dhakal: Active participation from all stakeholders in the energy sector significantly contributes to the advancement of goods and services. Investing in acquiring and disseminating knowledge from such sessions is crucial. With experts from around the world participating in the expo, it’s important to identify the best practices adopted by different countries. Organizing technical sessions focused on this aspect can be highly advantageous.

We anticipate that expos will play a pivotal role in fostering technological development in our country. The showcasing of innovations such as Kathmandu University’s green hydrogen car and Ibex tractor is expected to garner significant attention. The presence of experts from various countries presents an opportunity for mutual benefit. Europe and America, in particular, have made considerable technological advancements, and their expertise can greatly benefit us.

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