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Wednesday, 24 December 2008

National Energy Crisis in Nepal; thermal plants receive green signal

While declaring a “national energy crisis” in Nepal, our government green signaled a plan to develop a 200 MW thermal plant. Generating power eight hours a day for 240 days in a year, the plant will incur a yearly loss of more than Rs 5 billion (which too will be borne by the government). To top it off, the government will provide a grant of Rs 9.6 billion to the party that decides to install the thermal plant (source).

This development will supposedly provide a reprieve from the constant power cuts; they are so frequent that we cherish the hours when we do have electricity, rather than complain on the hours when we don't.

Amidst an ailing Republic, we are desperate for need of energy as an indication of stability. The "thirty five point plan" that has taken shape is perhaps a quick and dirty bail out option compared to a sturdier and sustainable plan. Investments of a reported Rs 9.6 billion and more, into a technology which has received condemnation because of its connections with climate change and others, by a government strapped for funds, does seem rather unusual. Green signaling the plan against advice from energy experts and the operating institution (Nepal Electricity Authority) themselves, does question the motive. Are there any kickbacks involved?

We are still reeling from the recent fuel crisis; how such plant/s will function if and when such crises repeat is perhaps one dimension, planners failed to consider. Other developments that are questionable in line with this development, include shoving off the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) requirements for hydro power projects envisioned within a year, for less stringent measures - Initial Environment Examination (IEE).

Why have environmentalists remained mum on this? Is it in fear of a backlash from an irate energy stripped population, or is it because they dare not be sidelined as bickering hooligans that seem to take to the streets at the drop of a hatch?

We are supposedly a country that boasts of water resources second only to Brazil and yet we resort to thermal power plants. Perhaps this is so because at this juncture, energy security is more dearer than a blue skyline or birds and bees.

Update @ 25 November, 2008: As of today, the load shedding hours have been bumped up, from ten hours that we have had for a couple of weeks to 12-14 hours a day as of today. So much for a reprieve from the load shedding hours.
humph!!

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

The age of Stupid


I spent a greater half of yesterday evening reading about a to-be-released film -The age of  Stupid from director Franny Armstrong (of Mclibel and Baked Alaska) and producer John Battsek.(One Day in September). A brief synopsis posted on the web summarises of an archivist played by Pete Postlethwaite (from In the name of the father fame) living a solitary life in the devastated world of 2055. In the movie, Pete looks at "old" footage from 2008 and asks: why didn’t we stop climate change when we had the chance?

Photo Credit: Spanner Films 
This is definitely a docu-drama to look out for come April next year when the movie is slated for international release. Furthermore, the movie has been crowd-funded (note the similarity to crowd sourcing) - around 270 people have funded it and will receive proceeds from the movie sales. Time Magazine covers this aspect of the movie here


Movie trailer released on Youtube...

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