Wind Power in Nepal

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Ganesha
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Wind Power in Nepal

Postby Ganesha » Thu Aug 27, 2009 11:42 pm

Every time you have managed to climb a hill or a hillock in Nepal, the gentle breeze caressing your perspiring body might have many times made you think of harnessing the power of the wind. If you do a quick google search on the topic, you will find a lot of places to go and read about wind power in Nepal. However, it becomes quickly evident that most of those pages talk about ideas and a bit of research while others talk about small scale trials and plants generating in hundreds of Watts only. And yet, there are people who still believe wind power can become viable business here in Nepal.

In this regard, it might be worthwhile to start a discussion on the basics of what could be done and was required if you were to start an operation, in the range of let's say a few megawatts in the country today. The best place to begin the venture, the costs involved and the technology required if any could be mentioned to begin the dissection.

Meanwhile, I believe its time a young entrepreneur obtain country dealership of either Vestas, the world number one in wind power technology or Suzlon, the underdog just down south. Whichever dealership you can secure, it will be a prized achievement in a few years time.
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rrrryan
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Re: Wind Power in Nepal

Postby rrrryan » Fri Aug 28, 2009 12:55 am

To me wind power seems pretty similar to hydro which has been troublesome in Nepal. Nepal's strict rules about currency exchange, the government's requirements on such projects, anti-capitalistic property laws, and the difficulty of finding conscientious skilled workers are some of the barriers. Very little foreign investment comes here unless it is humanitarian, profit seekers go elsewhere.

I'm aware of a few successful businesses in different capacities. The type of business that raises the standards in ways that are just necessary. Necessary, especially in complex enterprises like hydro or wind. The equipment must be maintained. As milk cannot be endlessly drawn from a cow without feeding it neither can such an enterprise succeed without maintenance. Nepal's "cows" (the businesses we rely on) are starved and mistreated. The absolute minimum is fed to them and they are thin and dirty. They are milked to soreness and even the milk is watered down.

Those businesses that raise the standards face ridicule from lesser men. The lesser men are afraid to lose their power so they are very loud. In Nepal a false rumor will spread no matter how foolish it is. I believe your barrier is not technology. This Country needs any of the brilliant technologies and near the top of the list is certainly electricity. Your barrier lies in the minds, gullibility, laziness, and greed that runs Nepal.

sthapit
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Re: Wind Power in Nepal

Postby sthapit » Fri Aug 28, 2009 3:34 am

@ryan - i'm surprised at your pessism. People are the same everywhere in the world - the barriers to development and success are NOT the Nepali people. We are neither gullible, lazy or greedy - look at how Nepalis flourish given the right opportunities, both in Nepal and abroad. We've been oppressed for the last 300 years and our current situation is simply a reflection of that fact. I think it would be more constructive to be results focused versus pointing fingers at "lesser men".

@Ganesha - As far as getting a dealership from Vestas, it might be a little premature. I'd like to see some research first on the wind potential in Nepal, if there's open space available, how to transport the power back to the grid (I'm assuming that's what you meant versus each person buying a turbine for his own home). Then there's the question of scale - "buying your own windmill isn't cheap. A turbine that could produce most of your family's electricity might cost as much as $80,000 and take as long as two decades to pay back", and whether we really want giant noisy towers in our beautiful mountains.

kazi
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Re: Wind Power in Nepal

Postby kazi » Fri Aug 28, 2009 12:08 pm

Just a little comment even though I know nothing about wind power. But from the discussions, a question popped in my head about the costs of developing wind harnessing technology inhouse rather than buying the technology. Seriously, $80,000 is a really steep price.. and I am quite positive cheaper technology can be developed.
--
"Mother and motherland are more precious than heaven." But that does not mean we must cling to our mothers. The least I can do for Nepal is to bring awareness among the Nepali people. And this Nepali forum is the platform for me.

rrrryan
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Re: Wind Power in Nepal

Postby rrrryan » Fri Aug 28, 2009 9:04 pm

yes, I understand your taking offense, and I did not mean to generalize, but the articulate and educated people here are exceptions for the resident population of Nepal. Your best and brightest leave and few even consider returning unless they are forced to. I wonder how many on this board actually live here. I do not mean to be pessimistic nor offensive, I mean to be realistic. Realistically the hydro power potential of Nepal is well known. The only rational reason I can perceive to pursue wind, which is somewhat unknown, over water is because one is aware of the failures of Nepal's hydro projects. The government will first work so many side deals that the project can't even afford to maintain itself and in the process the benefit will not even go to Nepalis. Since you know from history that the government would not stand for a private enterprise hydro project, at least not a successful one, you turn to another technology when the technology isn't the problem to begin with.

People are not the same everywhere. In fact every individual is different from the next. I love Nepal because, especially amoung the poor, there is a proud heritage and many individuals have character that would put the rich and arrogant to shame, if they had any shame. However, in general, the problem among the elite is blatant arrogant corruption and among the poor it is lack of education.

Take the recent elections as an example. Anyone familiar with history would avoid mixing a label like the word Maoist with aspirations of democracy (ie, writing a constitution). I had hopes that the Nepali flavor of Maoism had very little to do with Mao Tse-tung and more to do with building a philosophy based on the unique perspective of Nepalis. I was right that it had little to do with Mao, I was wrong to hope so much. Instead it turned to threats, violence, cheating, and bribery to steal the allegiance of the poor and uneducated only to line the pockets and inflate the power of another elitist group. Don't be fooled, a windmill can be blown up just as easily as a hydro plant. How many times have you heard someone say that instead of 1 King we have 400 Kings?

No, I would disagree, from a purely intellectual perspective people are not the same everywhere. The only hope for a wind project out performing a hydro project in Nepal is if it can somehow be insulated from the meddling that hydro is so vulnerable to. That vulnerability is unique to Nepal, unlike many places in the world, because when generalized to the granularity of an entire nation people are certainly not the same everywhere.

I've worked closely with people who have spent decades developing hydro solutions here. I know one man who left with his head down lamenting the waste of the last 15 years as his humanitarian project had dilapidated only a few years after having handed it over to the Nepali government. Though the intention was to give it to the Nepali people giving it to the government has very little relevance in that respect.

There is greed to be found everywhere, but so long as Nepal leaves it in the hands of the greedy to write a constitution to protect the people from the greedy, that constitution will never happen. Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the recent election specifically for a two year interim government to write a constitution? If so, why is it that the elected government proceed to run around buying up property, allocating "martyr" reimbursements, and trying to reorganize the army around its own constituents? Did they make any progress on this "constitution"?

It is realistic, if you can't do water you won't be able to do wind. It's just a fact. Some jealous person will whisper to a villager that the windmills make people sick and before you know it they'll be ripping them down. Or worse yet, the YCL... I don't even have to finish that sentence. People are NOT the same everywhere.

In conclusion, I will propose that we do not disagree to the extent that seems apparent. Your mention of the last 300 years molding society into what it is today I agree with wholeheartedly. However, different molds make different people. A child born to a beggar will quickly learn to beg and feel no shame, even when they have plenty. A person who feels shame in begging is different in that aspect and will be much more likely to work for their food. Which type of person would advance this Country? Minds and more importantly Spirits need to be changed. Nepal's young and brilliant must put the well being of the Country ahead of their own comfort and security. If they do not, they will not come back, and even if they do come back, they will milk the cow to soreness, die rich, and continue the cycle.

rrrryan
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Re: Wind Power in Nepal

Postby rrrryan » Fri Aug 28, 2009 9:18 pm

http://www.solaralaska.com/primer/solvs.htm

Above is a somewhat random site, but assuming it accurately itemizes the issues to consider tell me, once parsing the list, is this not the key one: "Not suitable in many locations due to lack of resource"??? If so, then why would one put a windmill at the top of a hill overlooking a running river unless there was some significant barrier to using the running river? Then ask yourself, what is that barrier? Finally, ask yourself, is that barrier removed when we change the technology? I propose the answer is no.

PROS:
------------------------------
Hydropower:

* Lowest cost per watt hour
* Usually a predictable year round power output
* Often does not require a large battery bank
* System is quiet and often can be made unobtrusive
* Typically low maintainance

Windpower

* Low cost per watt hour in a good location
* Smaller systems can be low maintainance
* Predictable power output in some locations

vs. CONS:

Hydropower

* Not suitable in many locations due to lack of resource
* Often requires substantial modification of water resource (except for in-stream type generators)
* Initial installation cost can be high if damming or dirtwork is required
* In colder climates, freezing of pipes, etc can be a problem
* Moving parts will eventually wear out

Windpower

* Not suitable in many locations due to lack of resource
* Towering can be expensive for larger units, and may require heavy equipment to erect.
* Some people object to the tower aesthetically
* Birds of prey run into tower and guy wires (similar to but smaller than utility installations in this respect)
* Power output can be sporadic in some areas, nescesitates the use of a large battery bank and / or altrenate power source
* Many people report that considerable noise is generated in high winds
* Even routine, minor maintainance on a windmill can be difficult on the top of a tower. Systems to reduce / eliminate this problem typically add to the cost and complexity of the system.
* Moving parts will eventually wear out

kcarjun
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Re: Wind Power in Nepal

Postby kcarjun » Sat Aug 29, 2009 9:03 am

From Arjun KC

Thanks for inviting me here "Team Aawartan".

Very good discussion. Very appreciable views.

Wind power is a hope of power source for future Nepal. The state mechanism is not favorable as it should be for the country suffering from such an energy crisis. The potential of wind turbine are enormous. To spell the name, within a narrow range of Kagbeni valley, it exceeds 200 MW.

Having potential is not enough, but needs a strong policy, political desire to improve people's life, state mechanism to support enterpreneurs who are willing to support such endeavors are very important, which currently lacks substantially. However, it is not the end, and not doable. We should start informing about it with such forums.

I will share more detail technical infomation regaridng wind energy resouces, financing among others. Some of my personal views in energy and development can be found if anyone is interested.

http://www.nepalnews.com/archive/2007/o ... mns_05.php

Ganesha
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Re: Wind Power in Nepal

Postby Ganesha » Fri Jul 02, 2010 1:51 am

ADB is financing small wind projects in Nepal. Let's see how it works out. If it goes well, I am sure a lot of Nepali entrepreneurs will be jumping in.
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kazi
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Re: Wind Power in Nepal

Postby kazi » Tue Jul 06, 2010 8:38 am

I'm really surprised that the survey claims a potential of 76 GigaWatt. That is a huge potential I must say.
--
"Mother and motherland are more precious than heaven." But that does not mean we must cling to our mothers. The least I can do for Nepal is to bring awareness among the Nepali people. And this Nepali forum is the platform for me.

kazi
Posts: 978
Joined: Mon Jun 29, 2009 11:55 am

Re: Wind Power in Nepal

Postby kazi » Tue Jul 06, 2010 8:50 am

I'm a bit late in joining the discussions between @rrryan and @sthapit. I just want to put in my two cents on @rrryan's point of view. To some extent I understand there is pessimism, but there is a reason for it.. and a valid one at that. I think I can understand why jumping onto a different boat without completing the mission on the first boat could be risky. I can understand the importance of having the basic necessities met before pushing technology onto people. Don't get me wrong. I love technology, but I also know it is a tool to fulfill a deeper purpose. The bottomline is this: that if people want to explore technology, they should, but keeping in mind that the basic necessity of the people come first, above all else. To put it bluntly, if an investor wants to invest 100 rupees in technology, he has to invest 40 rupees in addition on basic needs like education, health and security.
--
"Mother and motherland are more precious than heaven." But that does not mean we must cling to our mothers. The least I can do for Nepal is to bring awareness among the Nepali people. And this Nepali forum is the platform for me.


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