Nepal has made significant progress in the area of energy development. Focus now should be on managing, maintaining, preserving and promoting energy resources. There is a need of developing a plan of action to increase the access of people to energy. Lack of energy hampers multiple area of human life. Energy crisis in the past has affected development efforts of Nepal when power outages used to take place regularly. Now the state of electricity production and management is better and we generally do not have to go through load-shedding now.
Data of the United Nations shows that 13 per cent of global population still lacks access to modern electricity and 3 billion people worldwide rely on traditional energy like wood, coal, charcoal and animal waste. Increase of electricity definitely helps reduce carbon emission. Nepal has already initiated and published the SDG roadmap back in 2016/17 through the National Planning Commission and set periodic targets of all three sub-goals. Minister for Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Pampha Bhusal, the other day, launched the roadmap for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG-7). The roadmap aims to provide access to affordable and clean energy to all by 2030, increase the production of renewable energy and increase energy efficiency.
Stating that there was a great potential for hydropower in Nepal, Minister Bhusal said that it was technically possible to generate 43,000 MW of hydropower even though it is said to be as high as 83,000 MW in theory. The energy transition pathways for the 2030 sets targets that all of Nepal’s population will have access to electricity and means for clean cooking by 2030. The roadmap also seeks to achieve 50 per cent share of renewable energy by 2030 with installation of hydropower having a capacity of over 15,000 megawatts. It has also specified improvements in energy efficiency by reducing energy use in production and consumption activities to achieve 50 per cent of mobility based on electricity in Nepal.
Minister Bhusal said that the support of development partners and international agencies is needed to achieve the sustainable development goals. Minister Bhusal said that 93 per cent of the population in Nepal has access to electricity and per capita electricity consumption has reached 260 KWh and installed capacity is 1,478 MW. Stating that preparations had been made to bring electric buses into operation for public transport, she said, “Recently, 15 charging stations have come into operation and more than 50 such stations are being constructed.” It needs to be ensured that attaining sustained economic growth as well as responding to increasing energy demand is the pressing need of the hour.
Electricity Regulation Commission has been established in the country and it has started functioning since May 2019. Minister Bhusal said that new electricity bill has been submitted in the parliament for discussion. In this way, Nepal is in right direction towards achieving the goal of SDG-7 in the energy sector. The roadmap prepared with the support of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific will add another development dimension in the area of energy development and in the area of increasing people’s access to energy. Effective implementation of all instruments is the need of hour to achieve the goal for public good by making nation self-reliance in the energy sector.