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Technical Obstacles and Solutions on Small Scale Wind Power Development in Nepal

Nepal has huge potential of renewable energy sources such as hydro power and solar power. Wind power generation is also receiving attention recently due to its low cost and capability to manufacture locally using local resources. Small scale wind power generation may play vital role to electrify rural villages for lighting and general applications at low cost compare to other technologies.  Nepalese timbers have excellent fatigue and strength properties. They are found suitable for small scale wind turbine blade construction according to material research conducted by Kathmandu Alternative Power and Energy Group (KAPEG). The development of small wind turbine technology is not promising in Nepal. The technology is proven worldwide and different types of small scale wind power generation are harnessing for various purposes. There are many challenges including technical and policy issues which are stopping the promotion of small wind power technology in Nepal; some of them can be listed as follows.

·      Lack of technical expertise

·      Lack of awareness to the policy makers

·      Lack of attention from the government

·      Lack of local manufacturing capability

·      Lack of power curve measurement lab

The paper is part of the research programme “Development of commercially viable wind power system in Nepal” with funding support from RenewableNepal program. Kathmandu Alternative Power and Energy Group (KAPEG) and Practical Action Nepal are working together in the development of the project. Except some parts such as permanent magnets for the low speed wind power generator, other materials are available in Nepal. With a good design, the system can be manufactured locally to reduce the cost of the technology. Due to hilly topographical structure of Nepal, transmission of heavier systems is challenging. Special research and development is necessary to promote small scale wind power technology in Nepal in the following areas.

·      Wind tunnel for turbine test

·      Power curve measurement of wind power generator system

·      Material and mechanical tests of locally available material for turbine and tower construction

The indigenous manufacturing techniques can be used with some clever design of wind turbine rotor and low speed permanent magnet generator. It is necessary to manufacture the system locally using local resources to lower the cost of the total system. There are different stake holders and companies actively working to import and manufacture the system locally. The major problem with current practice is that they do not provide power curve of the generator. The field test results are not good enough to prove the technology locally. The wind data are not available in many places to select the good site.

Click here to read the full paper (Author: Pramod Ghimire, 2012)