Diesel generator sets have not been only increasing the cost of production of domestic industries making local products less competitive but also emitting more harmful gases than vehicles in the Kathmandu valley.
The regular power outage has made diesel generator sets a compulsion also for daily power needs in industries, households and offices but according to a study, ‘Diesel for Power Generation: Inventories and Black Carbon Emissions in Kathmandu Valley,’ the annual diesel consumption for captive power generation from generator sets in Kathmandu was around 70,715 kilolitres (kl), whereas the country had imported a total of 653,560 kl of diesel – or High Speed Diesel (HSD) as it is said – in the fiscal year 2011-12.
Around 11 per cent of the total diesel import of the country is consumed in the Kathmandu Valley, alone, by the vehicles and diesel generator sets.
Apart from the transportation, the usage of fossil fuel has seen a continuous increase in the last decade also due to regular power outage forcing the people use diesel generator sets that have contributed significantly to the pollution.
The study reveald that consumption of diesel generator sets accounted for 59 per cent of the total diesel sale in the city in the fiscal year 2011-12. “The annual emission of carbon monoxide and black carbon from the diesel generators was 1,181 and 135 tonnes respectively, while the total installed capacity for power generation was around 198 MW, which is equivalent to 28 per cent of the total energy supplied by the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) to the national grid,” reported the study that estimated around 200,000 generator sets being used across the country.
“Some 30 gm carbon dioxide is emitted per kilowatt (KW) per hour from diesel generator sets, which is significantly high compared to vehicular emission standards,” an environmentalist and expert in air pollution monitoring and mitigation Toran Sharma, on the occasion, said, adding that the emission from diesel generator sets can be compared with the transport sector. “But more scientific studies could only reveal their contribution to pollution.”
Though, the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment has fixed the standards for diesel generator sets, it has been flouted due to lack of effective monitoring,
Anjila Manandhar of Clean Air Network Nepal – a non governmental organisation that conducted the research – said that the increased use of diesel generators for power consumption has contributed significantly to pollution, with the air containing harmful substances and black carbon that have serious impacts on the public health and the climate.
“There has been an unprecedented rise in the import of diesel generator sets since the fiscal year 2008-09 as the power outage went up to as long as 18 hours a day,” she added.
The study conducted by Clean Air Network Nepal with the technical support from Kathmandu University, and supported by Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment and World Bank, focused on a more detailed collaborative data in the city.Based on field visits, questionnaires, detailed information on the operation of diesel generator sets, fuel consumption and capacity, brand, model and efficiency of the generator sets, the research was carried out in various sectors like manufacturing industries, commercial sector, government, non government organisation, INGOs, diplomatic missions and hospitals.