Building Linkages and Synergies on Renewable Energy and Climate Change Policies
Prakriti Resources Centre (PRC) and WWF Nepal jointly organized a ‘Workshop cum Training on Building linkages and synergies on Renewable Energy and Climate Change Policies’ from 25-26 March 2021. The workshop aimed to share information and build collective knowledge of Multi-Actor Partnership (MAP) members in order to build synergies between renewable energy (RE) and climate change policies. During the session, the current status and scenario of renewable energy in Nepal and greenhouse gas emission status was presented by experts. Similarly, related insights on international and national commitments and policies on climate change and renewable energy were also shared by experts.
Participants discussed various aspects of climate change mitigation actions and renewable energy to identify where and how these two can be linked and worked together. In the course of the programme, renewable energies were identified as part of the solution to mitigate climate change. It was discussed that renewable energy can be used in different sectors such as transportation, residential cooking to replace fossil and traditional biomass fuels. Decentralized grid such as wind-solar hybrid, electric vehicles, improved cookstoves, gasifier, solar cooker etc. were presented as possible solutions by the participants. Some of the challenges to scale up renewable energy in Nepal are related to policy, institutional setup, unclarity of definition of RE as well as a lack of technical human resource and financial mechanism. It was also informed that for the transition to renewable energy, several issues needed to be addressed in Nepal. Some of them being effective policy implementation, technology innovation/ intervention, technology transfer, strengthening the involvement of the private sector, user’s awareness and behavioral change.
Participants also shared that for Nepal to link climate change and renewable energy policies, government ministries and institutions responsible for energy and climate issues need to work in cooperation. Communication of policies at all tiers for governments must be shared to bring uniformity and better understanding. Similarly, the government should also work with target-based action plans to implement the policies while also making the information readily available for all stakeholders with open source database. It is understood that Nepal can meet international and national commitments by enactment of a specific act on renewable energy and climate change while also collaborating with multi-stakeholders. Further, streamlining federal, provincial and local government activities through appropriate facilitation, monitoring and regulation of private sectors along with other stakeholders would accelerate this process.
Nepal can meet its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) targets through the localization of renewable energy-related policies by helping all actors to understand the priority and its implementation. Formulation of policies, plans and programmes for the provincial and local level should also be encouraged. Strong legal basis for renewable energy target (RET) promotion, capacity development and sensitization of all stakeholders at the local level such as the governments, CSOs, private sectors must be carried out. Moreover, a clear definition of renewable energy and clean energy is also required for Nepal. For instance, is a large hydro a clean energy or should the size matter to call it clean energy.
For the localization/ democratization process of energy systems in the country, participants think that diverse sources of energy can be tapped for energy generation at the local level. However, strong, easy access and diverse financing model (private sector or cooperative model) is imperative. But there is limited know-how on technologies, which can impact the sustainability of the energy systems. High tariff (compared to grid tariff cost) can affect acceptability, affordability and regular tariff collection for renewable energy. Due to a lack of awareness of sector coupling and therefore appropriate productive end-use options, the financial viability of stand-alone RE systems can still be low. In addition, RE promotion is also hampered by lack of designated departments and policies at the local level.
For Nepal to graduate and transition from a least developed country to a middle-income developing country, renewable energy can have a crucial role. It can be promoted in energy-consuming sectors like industry, health, transportation, housing and agriculture among others. Creating an enabling environment and capacity building of all key stakeholders including government, private sector, CSOs and community is crucial.