Nepal is a small but beautiful landlocked country with an area of 147,181 km2. Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world with a per capita income of $447 per annum. About 80% of the nation’s population lives in rural areas and the country is characterized by small landholdings, rapid population growth and fragile economy resulting in chronic poverty in many regions.
Although Nepal is a small under developed country, it has many alternative energy sources. Energy is very important in our daily life. We need energy for home appliances, lighting, transportation, cooking, heating/cooling, communication and industries. This makes energy as one of the most important indicators of socio-economic development. Nepal’s total energy consumption is about 400.5 million GJ. Traditional sources such as fuel wood, crop residues and animal dung shared 87.1% where as commercial sources like petroleum products, coal and electricity and other renewable sources contributes only 12.2% and 0.7% of total energy consumption. It is clear that Nepal’s energy supply is more dependent on fuel wood, crop residues, animal dung and fossil fuels. These sources bring many environmental as well as human hazards or problems.
Renewable energy is generally defined as energy that is collected from resources which are naturally replenished on a human timescale, such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves, and geothermal heat. Which is the only solution (shifting to renewable energy) for tackling problems such as climate change, habitat destruction and biodiversity extinction. Nepal is blessed in terms of sources of renewable energies and they can be utilized free of cost. Renewable energy sources such as hydropower, solar energy, wind energy, geothermal energy and bio-energy are sustainably available in Nepal. Therefore, adequate utilization of these resources can certainly complement the country’s portfolio. Being environment friendly, renewable resources also contributes to significant reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, local/indoor air pollution and minimizes the impact on the landscape, and physical, geographical and natural environments.
Nepal has potential to meet and exceed all its energy needs. So, Nepal’s renewable energy shift is necessary in the present context. As we all know Nepal is 2nd richest in water resource, possessing about 2.7% of the world’s total water resources. About 6000 rivers with annual discharge of 174 billion m3 are available in the nation. The theoretical and commercial potentials of hydropower in Nepal are estimated to be about 83,000 MW and 42,000 MW, respectively. Similarly, Nepal has 6.8 sunshine hours per day which has potential of 80,000 GWh/day to generate energy. According to SWERA Nepal has wind power potential greater than 300W/m2. Bio-energies are also widely using whereby possible.
Nepal has huge number of natural energy resources, but only small fraction of it is being utilized. If Nepal be able to tap its potential in terms of available renewable resources and provide clean and reliable energy. Shifting to renewable energy will be easier for Nepal and will also provide employment opportunity, preserve the local environment, and improve the quality of life of all Nepalese.