File photo of Bidhya Devi Bhandari, Nepal President. [Photo/China Daily]
Nepal's President Bidhya Devi Bhandari said over the weekend that her government is committed to attracting foreign investment to the country's hydropower sector.
"In the wake of major political change in the country, our main goal is to achieve rapid economic growth," said Bhandari, emphasizing that developing infrastructure, especially in the hydropower sector will be key to the country's progress.
Bhandari was speaking on Saturday in Kathmandu at the annual Nepal Power Investment Summit. Focusing on developing 40,000 MW in the next 10 years in Nepal, the three-day event showcases energy investment opportunities in Nepal and provide updates on the sector's development.
Government officials, ambassadors, industry leaders, and academic researchers from countries including Nepal, China, India, Bangladesh and Germany are attending the summit.
Noting the need to develop renewable energy in the context of climate change and excessive use of fossil fuels, Bhandari said hydro resource is a "valuable gift of nature" to Nepal in developing one of the most eco-friendly and sustainable source of energy of hydroelectricity.
As a landlocked central Himalayan country in South Asia, Nepal is endowed with a large number of high mountains with plenty of glaciers leading out to more than 6,000 rivers.
But Nepal's hydro resource is far from being fully utilized, said Bhandari. Compared with a hydro potential of 83,000 MW, the country only has a production capacity of around 1,000 MW, suggesting 99 percent of its resources are yet to be developed.
Bhandari called upon both local and foreign investors to be actively involved in Nepal's hydropower sector. "The government is committed to create a congenial atmosphere for investment by taking due consideration of the investors' interest and real needs," she said.
Bhandari said capital, technology, market feasibility and development of cross-border transmission lines will be needed for implementation of large-scale projects, and the government will accord top priority to attract foreign investment in hydropower.
"I reckon there is a good opportunity to invest in hydropower sector," said Bhandari. "I believe the development of hydropower in Nepal would benefit the neighboring countries as well, and would eventually contribute to economic development of the region."
The summit, organized by Nepal's Energy Development Council, also witnessed the launch of the guidebook, which provides information to investors in utilizing the country's hydro resource in various forms.