Climate change: Green energy solutions

According to NASA, the global surface temperature in 2016 was 1° C warmer than in the 20th century, making it the hottest year recorded. IPCC reports states that temperature rise since 1950s has clearly  resulted from human activities. Excessive burning of fossil fuel has disrupted climate regulation adversely. While every country is heading towards economic prosperity, energy demand and fossil fuel combustion is escalating – collectively degrading the environment. Thus, the only alternative to curb the situation is by green energy solutions, i.e. use of renewable energy technologies such as solar, wind, biomass and hydroelectricity.

Rivers originating from snowy mountains along with those which originating from the mid-hill region and Siwalik region have bountiful potential of producing hydroelectricity — 83,000 MW as said by Hari Man Singh 50 years ago. However, the topographical and economic features restrict the production capacity to up to 40000 MW. If surplus energy from hydropower could be produced in the near future, it will not only be sufficient for the country but can also be traded with neighboring economic giants, India and China. The increasing global pressure to switch into green energy therefore provides ample opportunity for Nepal to pave its way into the international market.

The geographically diverse terrain has been both asset and liability for the development of the energy sector in the country. Most parts of the country are rural settings and scattered settlements depriving communities’ access to modern energy. Rural people still possess traditional lifestyle where fuel wood is the major source of cooking. According to Economic Survey 2016/17, the share of traditional fuel sources i.e. firewood, agriculture residue and cow dung, consumption was 74.5% in first eight months of fiscal year 2016/17, which is three fourths of the total energy consumption. Alongside, demand for petroleum products has been on the rise, making Nepalese economy more dependent. The daily average import of petrol alone has been reaching 1008.1 KL this year till date.

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