Renewable energy is a reliable alternative for reducing the use of fossil fuels to achieve sustainable development goals

Kathmandu / Renewable energy is a reliable alternative for reducing the use of fossil fuels to achieve sustainable development goals and to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5 degree Celsius.  Gradual reduction of fossil fuels usage by increased production and use of hydropower, solar energy and other types of renewable energy will have multi-faced economic, environmental, social, and human health benefits. Likewise, energy transition is also necessary to fulfill Nepal's international commitments on climate change.

With the aim of exchanging international practices, learnings, and experiences, on renewable energy use and climate change, the “International conference on 100% renewable energy: Policy, Practice and Experience” has been organized on 18 and 19 December 2022 in Kathmandu.

Renewable energy covers only about three percent of the current total energy consumption in Nepal. However, if large hydropower projects are also included, the use of clean energy makes up to eight percent of the total energy consumption. About 65 percent of Nepal's energy use is derived from biomass based energy and 27 percent is contributed from imported fossil fuels. In the last 10 years, the fossil fuel use in Nepal has increased at an alarming rate, which has put burden in the country’s economy. Fossil fuels worth 3.83 trillion Nepali rupees were imported in Nepal in the last fiscal year only. This is equivalent to 23 percent of the annual budget of the Government of Nepal (GoN) of the same fiscal year. A nationwide campaign is necessary for scaling up the production and use of renewable energy.

The GoN has policy priority to increase generation of hydropower and solar energy. Nepal’s cumulative capacity of clean electricity generation from various sources including hydropower, solar, cogeneration and off-grid renewable is around 2,377 MegaWatt (MW), whereas the country has placed a target of producing 15,000 MW of clean electricity by 2030 including 5-10% contribution from micro-mini hydro, solar, wind and bioenergy. Promotion of electric vehicles and electric cooking stoves are on top priority for increase the use of the generated energy.

Raju Pandit Chhetri, Executive Director of Prakriti Resources Center, shares that the steps taken by the GoN on renewable energy, energy mix, and energy transition are welcoming. Furthermore, he says that along with the production and use of renewable energy, the plan to replace fossil fuels should also be in place. Chhetri says, “Nepal should set a target of replacing the fossil fuel usage with renewable energy by 100 percent by the year 2050.” However, he also expressed that during the transition process, the economic and social impacts causing to poor and disadvantaged communities should be minimized and addressed equitably. Director Chhetri informed that Prakriti Resources Center has considered these principles and is implementing the 'Multi Actor Platform for 100 percent renewable energy project' from 2020 in partnership with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Nepal.

International Conference on 100 % Renewable Energy: Policy, Practice and Experience

The global average temperature has increased by 1.1 degree Celsius. If greenhouse gases emission is continued at the current rate, it is estimated that the temperature will rise by 2.5 degree Celsius by 2050. However, the agreement is made globally to limit the global temperature rise by not more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The government of Nepal has also set a goal of achieving ‘the net zero emissions’ by 2045. In order to achieve this goal, a collaborative effort by all stakeholders is necessary. The International conference on “100 % Renewable Energy: Policy, Practice, and Experience" has been organized to support achieving the national goal.

In this conference, representatives from about 16 countries from South Asia, South East Asia, Africa, and Europe have participated along with the representatives of Nepal government agencies from federal, provincial and local levels and international/national non-governmental organizations, private sectors, bank and financing institutions and development partner organizations. The participants in the conference are the professionals from the participating countries including government representatives, technical experts and practitioners on renewable energy, university professors and energy-related stakeholders. Altogether, 70 participants will participate in the conference.

Under the auspices of ‘MAP for 100 % Renewable Energy’ project, Alternative Energy Promotion Center, Prakriti Resources Center and World Wide Fund for Nature has jointly organised this conference, in which policy, practice and technology-related learning in the field of renewable energy and climate change were discussed and shared.

Madhusudan Adhikari, Executive Director of Alternative Energy Promotion Center, says that in the international conference on '100% Renewable Energy: Policy, Practice and Experience', Nepal can share the good practices made in the field of renewable energy and climate change to the global communities. Also, he strongly believes that this conference is fruitful to know and learn about the energy related technologies and applications developed and applied in other countries of the world.

Dr. Ghana Shyam Gurung, Country Representative of WWF Nepal, stresses on the importance of engaging the government, civil society, the private sector and all relevant stakeholders to collaborate for promotion and scaling up of renewable energy in Nepal. The ‘MAP for 100 % Renewable Energy’ project has embraced this idea and is creating the dialogue among the major stakeholders working in the energy sector in Nepal.

Climate change is a global problem affecting people all over the world. Therefore, our collective action is necessary to reduce climate change. Considering this fact into account, we believe that the conference on '100% Renewable Energy: Policy, Practice and Experience' has contributed in creating a conducive environment for the scaling up of renewable energy and addressing climate change.