The Kathmandu Post, 25 Nov 2017
Nepal and Bhutan appear well on track towards achieving universal access to electricity by 2030, according to the latest report on transformational energy access of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), which has reviewed 47 LDCs.
The ‘Least Developed Countries Report 2017: Transformational Energy Access’, published on Tuesday by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNACTAD), shows 84.9 percent of population in Nepal has access to electricity.
According to the report, Nepal’s access to electricity in the urban areas has reached 97.7 percent of the total population in 2014, up from 94 percent of population in 2010. Likewise, in rural areas, access to electricity reached 81.7 percent of the population in 2014 from 62.1 percent in 2010. The report highlights that Nepal’s micro-hydro village electrification programme has emerged as a successful scheme for scaling up the deployment of mini-hydro systems.
The report said Nepal is close to achieving access to electricity above the other developing countries (ODCs) averaging 90 percent.
It said the 26- percent point improvement in electricity access in LDCs between 1990 and 2014 represents a greater absolute increase than the 20-point increase achieved by other developing countries (ODCs). Asian countries on the list of LDCs for 2017 include Nepal, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.
Achieving universal access to modern energy globally is therefore critically dependent on achieving it in LDCs, it said. “But for most of them, doing so by 2030—the target year for achieving the SDGs—will be an enormous challenge.”
Despite an impressive rate of progress in recent years, only four of the 47 LDCs could achieve universal access to electricity by 2030 without an acceleration of the rate of increase in access, while only seven more could do so even if they doubled their current rate of progress.
In nearly a quarter of the LDCs, by contrast, achieving universal access by 2030 would require the number of persons gaining access annually to be 10 times higher in the coming years than over the past decade, the report said. While the LDCs have made great strides in recent years, achieving the global goal of universal access to energy by 2030 will require a 350 percent increase in their annual rate of electrification, it said.
Increasing the resources available for investment in LDCs’ electricity sectors will thus be critical to the fulfilment of Sustainable Development Goals 7 to achieve energy access to all.
Micro-Hydro electrification success hailed
KATHMANDU: Researchers and practitioners have proposed drawing lessons from Nepal’s Micro-Hydro Village Electrification success. The Micro-Hydro Village Electrification in Nepal, started in the early 2000s with the long-term financial support of large institutional donors, has emerged as a successful scheme for scaling up the deployment of mini-hydro systems, according to UNACTAD. Under the Rural Energy Development Programme of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the village electrification project is aimed at deploying community-based micro-hydro systems ranging from 10 kW to 100 kW. Project implementation was decentralised to local governments setting up micro-hydro functional groups in each targeted community. By 2014, more than 1,000 microhydro systems had been installed, with total generating capacity of 22 MW, providing off-grid electricity access to 20 percent of the population. (PR)