The ecosystem the industries have to function in has also presented setbacks in multiple stages of the production process. On average, the industries experienced 8.8 power outages a week compelling almost 70% of the respondents to use generators. This has led to a 4.9% increase, on average, of monthly costs to these industries.
Similarly, transportation and storage also pose significant problems, especially in the agro-industry where the report found one-fifth of goods produced were damaged during domestic transportation and storage, leading to food waste.
The report then transitions into the energy sector and Nepal’s prospects for decarbonisation to meet its Nationally Determined Contribution to address the climate crisis. Most of Nepal’s carbon footprint is from household fuel burning, so reducing emissions by transitioning to electricity is critical to making Nepal’s of net zero by 2050.
Nepal doubles carbon footprint, Nepali Times
Electricity sales grew an average of 7% per year from 2013-2015, and after the end of power cuts grew to 20% between 2017 and 2019. Professor Amrit Nakarmi, who is on the Advisory Panel of the Energy Development Council, says in the report: “We have to put in place the right incentives for households, industries, and transport systems to adopt cleaner forms of energy… reducing emissions at the household level is critical to achieving Nepal’s goals of a low-carbon based economy.”
Presently, 60% of Nepal’s power generation comes from the private sector, which is leading the way in energy.
“Unbundling the NEA (Nepal Electricity Authority) and making a more efficient and stronger power sector through privatisation is the need of the hour,” says Ashish Garg of the Independent Power Production Association of Nepal (IPPAN).
Nepal currently imports Rs36 billion worth of LPG, much of which is for household use. Switching to electricity-based cooking would not only result in Nepalis using the cleanest and cheapest form of energy for cooking but would also help tackle the large deficit the country is in.
Gyanendra Lal Pradhan, chair of the Energy Development Council at CNI says that double-digit economic growth is only possible through the aggressive development of domestic hydropower.
The deficit can be tackled by cross-border power trade in which Nepal’s hydropower surplus can be exported to India. Pradhan also suggests providing loans at a base rate for peaking run-of-the-river and storage-based hydropower projects. Since these projects take decades to build, a steady stream of financial capital should be made available to ensure their timely and effective completion.
“Hydropower has high environmental dividend, irrigation and flood-control benefits, and 90% value addition in the country. Why not reap the transformational benefits associated with hydropower development? With the right commitment for the future, hydro-based electricity can power the nation,” Pradhan concludes.
Read also : Nepal’s first hydropower from a glacial lake, Kunda Dixit