Nepal Seeks Consultants for Power System Expansion, Minigrid Development

Feb. 23, 2024
The Nepal Electricity Authority is looking for consultants to aid in the expansion of the country’s electric grid, including the development of hybrid minigrids to power remote areas.

Armed with grant funding from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) is looking to significantly expand the country’s electricity system. The South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Power System Expansion Project seeks to improve access to electricity across Nepal.

Located high in the Himalayas, only 65% of Nepalese households have access to electricity. According to the ADB, at just 102 kWh per year, the per capita electricity consumption of Nepal is one of the lowest in the world and, with just 762 MW of installed capacity, the country’s grid cannot meet its peak demand of 1,095 MW.

Grid and minigrid expansion

The SASEC project aims to ease the nation’s electricity challenges by investing heavily in grid infrastructure. The NEA is building more than 200 kilometers of transmission lines and substations along the Kaligandaki Corridor and the Marsyangdi-Kathmandu route. The Kaligandaki Corridor is a nearly 300-mile highway that’s being built from the southern border with India to the northern border with China, while the Marsyangdi-Kathmandu route runs north and east into the mountains from the country’s capital. 

The infrastructure initiative is also building or upgrading more than 1,000 kilometers of power distribution lines in the eastern, central and western parts of the country.

The SASEC project also aims to accelerate renewable energy development in Nepal. Part of the ADB funding is being used for the development of hybrid minigrids in remote, off-grid areas. According to the ADB, nine solar minigrids and four hydropowered minigrids have already been completed with more systems under construction or in the planning process.

Minigrids deliver power to rural areas in Asia

Minigrids are not new to this part of the world. Nepal already has more than 2,000 hydropowered minigrids providing power to remote regions. 

In neighboring India, microgrids and minigrids are also a popular solution for providing reliable power in remote areas. In 2022, the Kudagaon Village Microgrid project in India received the Highest Recognition Award for a Microgrid Serving the Greater Good by Microgrid Knowledge.

Nepal seeks consultant with expertise in solar and battery energy storage systems

A request for expression of interest was released by the NEA earlier this month to procure consulting services to assist with the ongoing SASEC project elements. Individuals interested in the position should preferably have 10 years of experience in the development of solar systems, as well as experience with grid-tied solar projects and battery energy storage systems.

The submission deadline is Tuesday, Feb. 27, with the start date tentatively set for April 1.

Additional details on qualifications, as well as the submission instructions, are available on the ADB website.

About the Author

Kathy Hitchens | Special Projects Editor

I work as a writer and special projects editor for Microgrid Knowledge. I have over 30 years of writing experience, working with a variety of companies in the renewable energy, electric vehicle and utility sector, as well as those in the entertainment, education, and financial industries. I have a BFA in Media Arts from the University of Arizona and a MBA from the University of Denver.

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