TRANSIION TO CLEAN ENERGY: Key For Prosperity

World Energy Nepal has demonstrated how renewable energy can transform the livelihoods of people in remote areas of Karnali Province by increasing access to energy.

Feb. 24, 2024, 8:10 a.m.

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In Nepal, where one in six people live in poverty, this is a critical component for improving people's lives. Due to Nepal's geographical terrain, grid distribution is not possible everywhere, so promoting off-grid renewable energy is the only option for the government.

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For poor people living in remote and difficult terrain with no immediate hope for national grid connection, reliable and affordable clean energy technologies are key.

The half-day workshop, organized jointly by the Alternative Energy Promotion Center (AEPC) and Renewable World, a UK-based INGO, highlighted the importance of renewable energy in bringing prosperity to rural life.

Minister of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, Shakti Bahadur Basnet, stated that the Nepalese government is prioritizing the use of renewable energy sources to achieve zero emissions by 2045.

During a workshop on Transition to Clean Energy for Economic Prosperity, Minister Basnet emphasized that the use of solar energy is crucial in improving the lives of people residing in rural Nepal.

The workshop aims to promote clean energy in Nepal and create synergies among the government, INGOs, NGOs, donors, and the private sector. This will contribute to energy security and economic development. The workshop will identify priority actions that contribute to the COP 28 declarations of tripling renewable energy capacity and doubling progress in energy efficiency by 2030. Sushil Chandra Tiwari, Secretary of the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources, and Irrigation, stated that the government is prepared to work closely with various organizations, including the private sector, NGOs, and INGOs, to provide renewable energy in rural areas of the country.

Al Richardson, Global Project Director of Renewable World, stated that the organization's role is critical in achieving Nepal's goal of zero emissions by 2045. Richardson also expressed readiness to support Nepal in achieving clean and green energy.

Thakur Thapa, Country Director of Renewable World, presented the objective of the program and set the context for the workshop.

Renewable World is currently working in Karnali, Sudurpashchim, and Lumbini provinces in close collaboration and partnership with local communities. He discussed ongoing projects in various municipalities in Karnali Province and emphasized the organization's focus on locally led development and achieving catalytic change.

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We pilot and test new renewable energy technologies to determine their appropriateness in various contexts. Our innovative approaches have enabled hilltop communities in Nepal to access water by advocating for the inclusion of solar-powered water lifting technology in the national subsidy mechanism of the Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC).

In Nepal, we are training farmers to adopt climate-smart agricultural techniques and share their knowledge. Additionally, we are collaborating with partners like the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and Wildlife Conservation Nepal (WCN) to develop and test a new local curriculum that includes conservation and renewable energy.

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During the program, Bhagawan Shrestha, Chairperson of the Association of International NGOs in Nepal (AIN), and Guna Raj Dhakal, Chairperson of the Renewable Energy Confederation of Nepal (RECON), gave speeches.

A documentary showcasing the transformation of lives through renewable energy in Karnali Province was also shown. In the panel discussion, Nabin Raj Singh, Joint Secretary of MoEWRI, stated that the ministry will provide all necessary support to those working in the renewable energy sector.

Sanjib Kumar Lal, Technical Lead at RW, Dr. Narayan Prasad Adhikari, Director at AEPC, Resha Piya, Energy Advisor at FCDO, and Grishma Shah, Senior Project Officer at ADB, expressed their views.

During the panel discussion, Pooja Sharma, Country Director at Practical Action, highlighted the challenges faced in expanding the renewable energy program due to a lack of coordination among different ministries.

Energy is a crucial global commodity and a keystone of socio-economic development. Access to clean and affordable energy is crucial for the economy and overall well-being of society.

In 1990, renewable energy accounted for only 7.18% of the global energy mix, while fossil fuels accounted for 86.88%. By 2022, renewable energy had increased to 14.21%, while fossil fuels decreased to 81.66%.

Although progress has been made in decarbonization, it is not happening fast enough. To achieve progress for the climate, we must increase the use of renewable energy. This includes meeting new energy demands and replacing existing fossil fuels at a faster rate.

To achieve the collective goal of the Paris Agreement, which is to keep warming below 2°C while pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5°C, renewable energy and energy efficiency must be deployed at a faster pace and larger scale by 2030. This will drive the global transition towards fossil fuel-free energy systems, well before mid-century.

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During CoP28, the heads of state declared their commitment to working together to triple the world's installed renewable energy generation capacity to at least 11,000 GW by 2030. This commitment takes into consideration different starting points and national circumstances.

Additionally, CoP28 has committed to working together to collectively double the global average annual rate of energy efficiency improvements from around 2% to over 4% every year until 2030. Nepal's total energy consumption in FY 2078/79 (2022 AD) slightly increased to 179,000 GWh compared to the previous year.

Traditional energy sources still dominate the energy mix, accounting for 64.17% of total consumption. Fossil fuel consumption stands at 28.35%, while electricity consumption is at 4.96%.

The usage of renewable energy only contributes to 2.52% in Nepal. The Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC) is the Government of Nepal's focal agency on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency. It was established on November 3, 1996, and operates under the purview of the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources, and Irrigation.

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AEPC is actively involved in climate change mitigation, adaptation, and enterprise development. AEPC has reached approximately 15 million households in the last 25 years by installing over 85 MW of renewable energy projects and deploying clean cooking solutions to meet their energy needs.

Currently, almost 500 private companies offer services related to renewable energy, creating approximately 30,000 jobs both directly and indirectly. Renewable World, a UK-based INGO, has been operating in Nepal since 2012 and has helped over 90,000 people living in poverty by improving their access to clean energy, empowering them to develop sustainable and resilient livelihoods, and mitigating the impact of climate change.

AEPC and Renewable World have partnered to identify priority actions for government agencies, INGOs/NGOs/Donors, and the private sector that will contribute to the COP 28 goal of tripling renewable energy capacity and doubling progress in energy efficiency by 2030.

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