‘100 megawatts of renewable energy in 10 years’, was the dream of Mr. Kushal Gurung for which he left a pioneering industry in Scotland and came back to Nepal. Gurung came back to Nepal in the end of 2011 when Nepal was on the peak of heavy power cuts. This problem motivated him to contribute in the field of renewable energy. Among other renewable energy projects he chose wind since he had worked in wind energy before and knew it was possible in Nepal. After a year of research and market study he started his own company called Wind Power Nepal (WPN) in 2012.
Kushal started WPN with an initial investment of one million rupees. The amount helped him in starting his project but it was not enough for the long-run. Wind energy was neglected by many and the initial phase for the company was not easy. “We were the new kid in the block, the discarded ones”, said Kushal. So, to survive in the market he had to change the company’s track a little by providing offshore consultancy service to a wind research company based in Europe, where he used to work before returning to Nepal. The consultancy services provided him enough revenue to invest is his new project, Bio Urja 100. He recalls that in this project, the rooftop wind turbine was competing with solar energy. Solar didn’t have much after sales problem but in rooftop turbine post sales maintenance was high. Also, the orders for the rooftop turbine came from hard to reach places which increased their logistic costs as well. Unfortunately, after weighing all the pros and cons, Kushal had to drop this project within 6 months.
The last four years for WPN was not an easy road. They were doing a lot of lobbying as Nepal did not have policies regarding wind power. Their main weapon was writing. They had written many articles in the daily newspaper and were working closely with major energy departments like; Alternative Energy Promotion Center (AEPC), Ministry of Energy and Department of Electricity Development and other donors. This had made them very prominent in the market by 2013. 2015 was the lucky year for WPN as they got the tender for executing World Bank’s ‘Nepal Wind Mapping Project (2015- 2018)’ which Gurung considers to be the biggest achievement for him till date.
Along with incredible highs, running a business can be very frustrating says Gurung. Managing income and expenditure of the company can be very frustrating at times. So, to get rid of his frustrations he tries to make his company asset as light as possible by starting the production only when there is a confirmed order.
Lastly, Mr. Gurung suggests the new upcoming entrepreneurs interested in renewable energy to never lose passion as the road to success is not smooth. During the time of frustration, passion is one thing that will help in coping with it. He also suggests staying lean regarding the expenses, to bootstrap and to be frugal.