Friday, 3 December, 2021

Boost Clean Energy Use

In recent United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, UK, Nepal presented ambitious plan to reduce emissions as Himalayan nation continues to face threat from the consequences of climate change. It promised to attain a net-zero emission by 2045, increase the share of clean energy in total energy demand to 15 per cent and forest cover to 45 per cent by 2030. Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, who addressed the historic UN climate summit, said that Nepal would decarbonise economy in all sectors while expressing firm commitment to the 2015 Paris Agreement. There lie valid factors as to why the country puts greater emphasis on clean energy essential to mitigate the impacts of climate change. It stands between challenges and opportunity. The Himalayan region has witnessed temperature rising higher than the global average, causing glaciers to recede, snowfall to decrease and formation of glacial lakes.

At the same time, it has the ability to promote green growth and cut greenhouse emissions on the back of increased hydropower surplus. Nepal has made strides in the generation of electricity. It has about 2,000 MW installed capacity, with Nepal Electricity Authority’s projects contributing 1,190 MW and private sector 825 MW. The government is building seven projects with the capacity of 610 MW while 138 private sector projects of 3,506 MW are in the pipeline. Nepal is poised to generate 15,000 MW of electricity within 10 years from now, which will enable it in the long run in achieving self-reliance in energy and spurring economic growth through the power export. However, at the moment, the surplus energy is not fully consumed. The NEA said that it incurred a loss of Rs. 5 billion in three months due to spill of 600 MW during the wet season, according to the news report of this daily. This requires devising practical strategy to boost the domestic consumption, which will in turn increase the government revenues and promote clean energy in the country.

Experts have pointed out that Nepal’s per capita energy consumption is extremely low compared to other countries. Per capita energy consumption in Nepal has just 231 kWh while its global average stands 3,265 kWh and in India, it is 1,000 kWh. Given that India and China depend on coal for 60 and 70 per cent of their energy generation, Nepal has an opportunity to benefit from carbon trading as it has been widely using clean energy. Against this backdrop, speaking at a function in the capital on Tuesday, PM Deuba said that the government is brining action plan to encourage the use of electricity appliances for households and electric vehicles to increase domestic consumption of electricity.

Similarly, Minister for Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Pampha Bhusal called on the private sector to come up with credible action plan to ensure its participation in the cross-border electricity trade. Now the government and the private sector should work in tandem to expand electricity market at home and abroad. Currently, the industrial sector needs 500 MW of electricity while its use in agriculture sector is on the rise. The government should formulate and implement the flexible policy to set up electricity-intensive industries which will absorb high amount of electricity. By doing so, the government will promote clean energy, create employment opportunities and contribute to reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases that cause global warming.