One million rural Nepalese benefit from the EUR 15 million (NPR 1.5 billion) European Union funded Renewable Energy Project
Close to a million people living in remote villages of 21 Himalayan districts of Nepal now benefit from services supported by renewable energy following the successful completion of the Renewable Energy Project (REP). The project was co-funded by the European Union through a EUR 15 million grant (approximately NPR 1.5 billion) to the Government of Nepal.
The Government of Nepal, which contributed EUR 675 thousand, implemented the project through its Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC). The project has invested in the required infrastructure for renewable electricity generation.
The REP has established the foundation for rural communities in Nepal to move towards the sustainable use of resources, conservation of the environment and enhancement of their local economies. More concretely, the project has provided solar systems to over 206 health posts, 378 schools, 29 community computer literacy programs, 59 community entertainment centers, as well as 124 community telecommunication centers across the country. In addition, the project has successfully promoted income generating activities by providing 107 agro grinding mills, 30 water pumping systems, 24 solar driers and 14 solar hot water systems.
The REP has put in place renewable energy infrastructures in these remote rural areas to facilitate income generation, sustainable growth and delivery of social services, thus alleviating poverty through the installation of 933 Photovoltaic (PV), and 38 thermal systems.
Dr. Alexander Spachis, Ambassador, Head of the European Union Delegation to Nepal, said that the REP is an excellent example of a joint undertaking between the Government of Nepal and the EU that has made a significant contribution to improving the quality of life in rural areas of Nepal.
Ambassador Spachis further stated that high-level officials from the EU have had the opportunity to visit the project in the field. Their feedback has been very positive and the EU is currently exploring further bilateral cooperation in this sector.
"Nepal attaches top priority to tapping the immense renewable energy potential that it possesses for reducing poverty through promoting inclusive, green and sustainable economic development. The EU's support to this end with the implementation of the just completed Renewable Energy Project has been extremely helpful. We would like to thank EU for this, and request for further support in various forms to promote this sector." said Mr. Krishna Gyawali, Secretary for Environment, Science and Technology at the handover ceremony of the REP Project today.
Executive Director of AEPC, Dr. Govind R. Pokharel thanked the EU for supporting Renewable Energy Technologies in the remote rural areas of Nepal. He stressed that this project has contributed to improving living standard of the rural people, improving local environment and most importantly increasing access to clean energy.
"We at Sarangdanda feel as though we are in heaven. In the past we had to go to the cities to learn to work with computers after completing school. Now it is different, as we have been given the opportunity to learn computer skills in our home villages", says Devi Maya Khadka, a student studying at Shree Durga Higher Secondary School in Sarangdanda, Panchthar.
Many students in the remote districts of Nepal share these feelings. They believe that the installation of solar panels in their schools has brought about significant changes to the teaching methodologies with many more opportunities available now to access information and news.
To ensure sustainability, the project has trained 168 Community Organizations to take on the role as Community Energy Service Providers (CESPs). The CESP is a new and unique approach to involve rural population in the delivery of energy services to their respective communities, thereby enhancing active participation, accountability and ownership in the project.