Nepal is one of the least energy consuming countries in the world. The most of the energy needs fulfil by bio-fuel about 87.7% (fire wood 78.1%, agriculture and animal residue 9.6%), fossil fuels 10%, electricity around 1.8% and renewable 0.5% (WECS 2006). In urban areas imported fossil fuels account around 90% of the total energy use, including for cooking, transport and industries. In sub–urban and newly urbanizing areas, bio-fuels for cooking are given way to kerosene and other imported fossil fuels. Around 96% of total domestic energy is supplied by bio-fuel, which is one of the main causes of deforestation and indoor pollution. Expansion of road network makes fossil fuel the fastest growing energy source in the country, substituting cooking fuels in road reach areas. Except for solar hot water heating in urban areas, and some biogas production in rural areas, the use of other renewable energy sources is very limited. Access to electricity is only about 39% (census 2001) of the country population, mostly in urban areas. Nearly 20% of the population in rural areas has access to electricity, which is one of the major challenges of the country.
However, most of the efforts in energy development have focused on the supply of energy through large-scale hydropower projects for the urban areas. These efforts have largely ignored the fact that the rural population, for a long time, will continue to rely on natural resources for their energy needs. Moreover, because of accessibility as well as affordability, grid electricity will remain beyond the reach of the rural people. This trend of energy use, and hence its consequences on other sectors will continue to rise unless positive interventions are introduced. Renewable (Alternate) energy, in this context can play a role of catalyst in rural development by providing modern form of energy. The renewable energy programme has been institutionalized with the establishment of Alternative Energy promotion Center (AEPC), under the Ministry of Science and Technology in 1996.
Rural electrification has an important role to play in accelerating both agricultural and rural development. It could have a catalytic effect on agricultural growth by accelerating shallow tube well irrigation. In addition to supporting for the development of agro business, the extension of rural electrification would also help modernize cottage industries and improve the living standards of rural households. Accordingly, key programs are aimed at expanding grid-based rural electrification, promoting small projects where grid-based expansion is not possible, and enhancing the capacity of cooperatives for management at local levels. To achieve the objective of increasing rural coverage from 40 to 55% over the Plan period, the government's strategy envisages internal unbundling of NEA's activities as well as initiating an explicit subsidy policy for grid-based rural electrification.
The development of the forestry sector is especially important for promoting livestock, making compost fertilizer, conserving environment and for watershed management by conserving ground water resources. Community and Leasehold Forestry programs have been very successful in the country in creating income-generating opportunities for the poor. In this context, the 'user-group approach' is particularly useful in mainstreaming poor and deprived communities in forestry sector activities. Given its high success, the leasehold programs would be further expanded. Integration of the concept of sustainable development in all the development processes for balancing population and environment and identification of comparatively advantageous areas for achieving high and sustainable economic growth through adaptation of community-based natural resource conservation, utilization and improvement are focused in consideration of strategic environment assessment and capability enhancement. Various program interventions will be carried out so that land use is planned and managed at the national and local levels such that resource bases and ecosystems are improved, with complementarities between high- and low- lands that forest biomass grows, that agricultural and forest lands are protected from urban sprawl, and that biodiversity is conserved at the landscape level by recognizing threats from habitat fragmentation, unmanaged solid waste and loss of forest cover. Air, solid waste and water quality monitoring will be maintained to reduce human health hazards.
The Tenth Plan's key objectives in the power sector include: expanding electricity coverage in a sustainable and environmental friendly manner by generating low-cost power; accelerating rural electrification to promote economic growth and improve living standards in rural areas and to develop hydro power as an important export item. The major strategies of the sector include promoting private sector participation in power generation and distribution, unbundling the activities of NEA and improving its financial viability, integrating rural electrification with rural economic development programs, and strengthening power infrastructure. Major initiatives/activities to be undertaken to improve power sector development include the establishment of a Power Development Fund; the creation of an independent regulatory authority; initiation of an explicit subsidy policy for grid-based rural electrification; and promotion of small, medium and storage hydropower projects. The major expected outcomes are that the proportion of population having access to electricity will increase from 40 percent to 55 percent by the end of the Plan period, and adequate power will be supplied as needed to support economic growth.
(Maps are based on the information Renewable Energy Data of Nepal 2003 Published by CADEC)
Dadeldhura, Baitadi, Achham, Bajura, Dailekh, Pyuthan, Baglung, Myagdi, Parbat, Tanahu, Kavre, Sindhupalchok, Dolakha, Okhadhunga and Tehrathum
Darchula, Bajhang, Doti, Humla, Mugu, Dhading, Solukhumbu, Sankhuwasabha, Panchthar and Taplejung
Total Districts Coverage: 25
Total Districts Coverage: 22
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