micro solution for hydro woes

All it takes to create is determination and a vision. With these tools and a desire to serve his community, Bir Bahadur Ghale has transformed his hometown with the help of micro-hydro power.

Although rich in natural resources, particularly water, Nepal still has to materialize its capacity in the sector. Large rivers flow across the country’s hills but the potential benefits for the nation from these rivers in terms of energy is yet to be harnessed.
However, there is still hope for those who are positive towards making Nepal a load-shedding free country. To be precise, efforts made by individuals like Bir Bahadur Ghale, Managing Director of Hydro Energy Concern Pvt. Ltd. are significant steps towards introducing remote villages to modern technology and mass media through uncut supply of electricity.

Ghale’s journey started in Barpak, Gorkha some 22 years ago. A youthful individual with a determined look in his eyes, he decided to establish a micro hydro plant in his hometown. Starting his project at a time when the government was setting up the lower Marsyangdi power plant, skepticism ruled the minds of his fellow villages whom he wanted to help with his efforts. “To everyone, what I was doing at that time looked insignificant and easy,” says Ghale.

Today, the private micro hydro project that his company established back then is capable of producing 1MW of electricity, from the starting amount of 50-130 kilowatts. Falling under the category of Alternative Energy Collection Centre, his venture is now the pride of the local community. In fact, it proved to be the threshold that inspired other local entrepreneurs to do the same. In course of time, the region has become one of the most developed in the district.

To help other communities get a grip of what this was all about, Bir Bahadur campaigned in neighboring localities and villages. Recently, his company helped establish a micro hydro plant in a village in Manang. “My aim was to enable people to be independent and create job opportunities for themselves with the help of this technology,” says Ghale. His company provides services such as mini, micro and small hydro and wind power project surveys, design, equipment supply, and installation and maintenance. His company also provides solutions to utilize electricity for mobilizing communities towards economic benefits.
“Normally, people in villages only use electricity to perform their daily activities. This was related to cooking, lighting bulbs and most recently charging your mobile phones or watching television,” says Bir Bahadur.Needless to say, telecom companies like NTC, Ncell and Smart are connecting thousands of villages today. Likewise Dish TV provides cable television in rural regions too. These benefits also mean added power expense for the locals.

Having provided the electricity, the company now wants to help the people turn electricity into cash. “Recently, we conducted several training programs where villagers were taught to use electricity to activate water supply channels to their fields. Likewise, we have successfully helped people run furniture shops that are being run by the electricity from the micro power plant itself,” says Bir Bahadur. Ghale states that the main aim of his company is to help establish efficient small business enterprises. Another of his objectives is to make people aware of the energy wastage that occurs during the day. Additionally, the tips provided for users during the presentations include topics like energy management, meter reading, energy tariff settings, logbook accounting along with explanations of legal terms and conditions.

What started as an effort to bring electricity to his hometown, has opened doors to numerous new possibilities not only in his hometown but in the entire region. He isn’t off the mark when Ghale says, “This may be the next big thing after roads to have happened to the region. It has helped bridge the gap between the region and development.”

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