Asta-Ja and Energy Security in Nepal

  • Durga D Poudel The Founder of the Asta-Ja Framework, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, Louisiana, USA
Keywords: Hydroelectricity, alternative energy sources, energy security, Asta-Ja, Nepal


Energy independence and sustainable renewable energy sources are the two main components of energy security for Nepal. More than 2/3rd of energy consumed in Nepal comes from biofuels and waste and about 1/4th of energy consumed comes from coal and petroleum products. With increasing number of motor vehicles and rising demand for cooking gas, Nepal’s coal and petroleum import bills in recent years have reached over Rs. 200 billion. With its vast water resources, Nepal has a great potential for energy independence and sustainability and achieve energy security. Nepal’s current 1,689 MW hydroelectricity capacity is expected to reach over 5,000 MW in next three to five years, which means Nepal will have a large amount of clean energy in the market. This increased hydropower production will also require an increased domestic consumption by making hydroelectricity affordable, reliable, and high-quality energy by improving its distribution system. Nepal also has a very high potential for solar power, which need to be harnessed and brought to the national grid. Nepal needs to harness all energy sources, which consist of hydropower, solar power, wind power, biofuels, and biogas, in a sustainable way for its energy independence and security. Because Nepal is in a geologically active and natural disasters prone area, it is critical to ensure ecological balance of Asta-Ja elements, Nepali letter, Jal (water), Jamin (land), Jungle (forest), Jadibuti (medicinal and aromatic plants), Janashakti (manpower), Janawar (animal), Jarajuri (crop plants) and Jalabayu (climate) while developing energy resources. Asta-Ja Framework serves as the connecting bridge between the energy resources and the end users. Strategic planning for comprehensive energy development considering ecological balance of Asta-Ja resources, decarbonization and electrification of energy end uses, improvement of energy infrastructures, continuous monitoring and evaluation of energy sector, and development of hydropower plants and alternative energy sources such as solar and wind is suggested for energy security in Nepal.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Durga D Poudel, The Founder of the Asta-Ja Framework, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, Louisiana, USA

Durga D. Poudel is a Professor of Environmental Science at University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, USA. He received his B.Sc. degree in Agriculture from University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan, M.Sc. in Natural Resource Development and Management from Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok, Thailand, and Ph.D. in Soil Science from the University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA. Dr. Poudel’s professional experience consists of Research Fellow at Asian Vegetable Research and Development Center, Taiwan; Graduate Research Assistant in Sustainable Agricultural and Natural Resource Management Collaborative Research Support Program, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA; and Visiting Research Scholar, University of California Davis, USA. Dr. Poudel joined the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, USA, as an Assistant Professor of Soil Science in August 2000. Dr. Poudel is a Board of Regents Professor in Applied Life Sciences at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Louisiana, USA. As an Associate Editor, Dr. Poudel has been serving the Strategic Planning for Energy and the Environment journal since 2020. He is the Founder of Asta-Ja Framework and the Founding President of Asta-Ja Research and Development Center (Asta-Ja RDC) Kathmandu, Nepal, and Asta-Ja USA.


Alam, F., Alam, Q., Reza, S., Khurshid-ul-Alam, SM., Saleque, K., and Chowdhury, H., 2017. A review of hydropower projects in Nepal, Energy Procedia 110 (2017) 581–585, Elsevier Ltd., Available at:

Arita, K., Hayashi, D., and Yoshida, M. (1982). Geology and structure of the Pokhara-Piuthan area, central Nepal. Jour. Nepal Geol. Soc, 2, 5–29.

Bajracharya, T.R., Acharya, S., and Ale, B.B., 2011. Changing climatic parameters and its possible impacts in hydropower generation in Nepal (A case study on Gandaki River Basin), Journal of the Institute of Engineering, Vol. 8(1):169–173. Available at:

Bhushal, R., 2021. The forgotten tale of Nepal’s first hydro project, The Third Pole, Available at:

Bhatt, R.P., 2017. Hydropower development in Nepal- Climate change, impacts and implications, Available at:, DOI:10.5772/66253. pp. 75–98.

Butchers, J., Williamson, S., and Booker, J., 2021. Micro-Hydropower in Nepal: Analysing the Project Process to Understand Drivers that Strengthen and Weaken Sustainability, Sustainability, 13, 1582.

Corwin, H., Eddings, K., Bailey, G., Braun, A., Mann, A., Gomez, V., Heafner, H., Faulk, W., Immel, L., Hingdon, A., Stelly, B., Broussard, B.N., Willis, L., Martin, T.C., Mizelle, T.J., Baker, A.J., Duex, T., and Poudel, D.D., 2019. Enriching college students through study abroad: A case of Nepal Field Experience Part 1, ASEJ 23(4):24–29. DOI:10.5604/01.3001.0013.6832 (online).

Ghimire, B., 2020. Why the MCC compact courted controversy in Nepal, published by the Kathmandu Post on January 9, 2020. Available at:

Gibbons, A. D., Whittaker, J. M., and Müller, R. D. (2013). The breakup of East Gondwana: Assimilating constraints from Cretaceous ocean basins around India into a best-fit tectonic model. Journal of geophysical research: solid earth, 118(3), 808–822.

Gyawali, D., 2013. Reflecting on the Chasm between Water Punditry and Water Politics, Water Alternatives 6(2): 177–194, Available at:

Gyawali, D., 2021. Bijuli Bikas Sahi Margama Doryauna Chahine Abashyak Sudhar, Published on August 10, 2021 in Setopati-Nepal’s Digital Newspaper, Setopati Sanchar, Pvt. Ltd., Available at: (In Nepali language).

IEA (International Energy Agency). 2021. Total energy supply (TES) by source Nepal 1990–2018, Available at:

IFC (International Finance Corporation). 2021. Harnessing Nepal’s Hydropower for Energy Starved South Asia, Available at:

Karki, K., KC. H., 2020. Nepal-India Relations: Beyond Realist and Liberal Theoretical Prisms, Australian Journal of International Affairs, DOI: 10.3126/joia.v3i1.29085, Available at:

Khanal, R., 2019. Oil import bill soared 25 percent to Rs214.48 billion in last fiscal, The Kathmandu Post, Published on August 6, 2019, Available at:

Lohani, S.P., and Blakers, A., 2021. 100% renewable energy with pumped-hydro-energy storage in Nepal, Clean Energy, Volume 5, Issue 2, June 2021, Pages 243–253, Available at:,

Martin, A. J., Ganguly, J., and DeCelles, P. G. (2010). Metamorphism of Greater and Lesser Himalayan rocks exposed in the Modi Khola valley, central Nepal. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, 159(2), 203.

MCC (Millennium Challenge Corporation). 2017. MCC Acting CEO Jonathan Nash’s Remarks at the Nepal Compact Signing, September 14, 2017, Washington D.C., Available at:

MoEWRI (Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation). 2021. Construction License: Hydro (>

MW), Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, Government of Nepal, Available at:

MoF (Ministry of Finance). 2020. Economic Survey 2019/20, Ministry of Finance, Government of Nepal, Singh Durbar, Kathmandu, Available at:

NEA (Nepal Electricity Authority). 2014. A Year in Review- Fiscal Year 2013/2014, Nepal Electricity Authority, Durbar Marg, Kathmandu, Nepal. Available at:

NEA (Nepal Electricity Authority). 2019. Nepal Electricity Authority Corporate Development Plan 2018/19 – 2020/23, Nepal Electricity Authority, Durbar Marg, Kathmandu, Nepal. Available at:

NEA (Nepal Electricity Authority). 2020. A Year in Review- Fiscal Year 2019/2020, Nepal Electricity Authority, Durbar Marg, Kathmandu, Nepal. Available at:

NPC (National Planning Commission). 1980. The Sixth Plan, National Planning Commission, Singh Durbar, Kathmandu, Nepal, Available at:

Pant, B., 2018. Socio economic impact of undeclared blockade of India on Nepal, Research Nepal Journal of Development Studies, Volume I, Issue 1, 2018 May, pp. 18–27, Available at:

Pokhrel, T.R., and Rijal, H.B., 2021. Energy transition toward cleaner energy resources in Nepal, Sustainability, 13(8) 4243, Available at:

Poudel, D., 2018. 3.1 million motor vehicles on Nepali roads: DoTM, Published by myrepublic on July 4, 2018. Available at:

Poudel, D.D., 2008. Management of Eight ‘Ja’ for Economic Development in Nepal. Journal of Comparative International Management, 11(1): 15–27.

Poudel, D.D., 2009. The Asta-Ja Environmental and Natural Resources Policy Framework (Asta-Ja ENRPF) for Sustainable Development in Nepal. Journal of Comparative International Management, 12(2): 49–71.

Poudel, D.D., 2011. A strategic framework for environmental and sustainable development in Nepal. International Journal of Environment and Sustainable Development, 10(1): 48–61.

Poudel, D.D., 2012. The Asta-Ja Management Capacity-building Framework for Sustainable Development in Nepal, International Journal of Sustainable Development, Vol. 15, No. 4, pp. 334–352.

Poudel, D.D., 2016. Management of Asta-Ja System, Journal of Comparative International Management, 19(2): 19–40.

Poudel, D.D., 2018a. Management of Cooperatives Focusing on Asta-Ja and Globalization, Journal of Comparative International Management, 21(1): 77–84.

Poudel, D.D., 2018b. Restructuring National Planning Commission Focusing on Asta-Ja and Nepal Vision 2040, Asian Profile, 46(2): 151–167.

Poudel, D.D., 2021. Asta-Ja Framework: A Peaceful Approach to Food, Water, Climate, and Environmental Security Coupled with Sustainable Economic Development and Social Inclusion in Nepal, Strategic Planning for Energy and the Environment, Vol. 39, 1–4, 243–318. doi: 10.13052/spee1048-4236.391412

Poudel, D.D., and Duex, T.W., 2017. Vanishing Springs in Nepalese Mountains: An Assessment of Water Sources, Farmer’s Perceptions, and Climate Change Adaptation, Mountain Research and Development, 37(1):35–46. DOI:

Rai, K.R., 2020. Micro hydro plants destined for oblivion in rural Nepal, Published in the Kathmandu Post on September 2, 2020, Available at:

Rogelj, J., Shindell, D., Jiang, K., Fifita, S., Forster, P., Ginzburg, V., Handa, C., Kheshgi, H., Kobayashi, S., Kriegler, E., Mundaca, L., Séférian, R., and Vilariño, M.V., 2018. Mitigation Pathways Compatible with 1.5∘

C in the Context of Sustainable Development. In: Global Warming of 1.5∘C. An IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5∘

C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty [Masson-Delmotte, V., Zhai, P., Pörtner, H.-O., Roberts, D., Skea, J., Shukla, P.R., Pirani, A., Moufouma-Okia, W., Péan, C., Pidcock, R., Connors, S., Matthews , J.B.R., Chen, Y., Zhou, X., Gomis , M.I., Lonnoy, E., Maycock, T., Tignor, M., and Waterfield, T. (eds.)]. In Press. Available at:

The Kathmandu Post., 2018. Fuel import bill balloons to all-time high of Rs. 131.93b, Published on June 12, 2018. Available at:

UNCC (United Nations Climate Change). The Paris Agreement, Available at:

Upreti, B. N., 1999. An overview of the stratigraphy and tectonics of the Nepal Himalaya. Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, 17(5–6), 577–606.

Wikipedia., 2021. List of power stations in Nepal. Available at:

Wildavsky, A., 1972. Why Planning Fails in Nepal, Administrative Science Quarterly, Dec., 1972, Vol. 17, No. 4 (Dec., 1972), pp. 508–528 Published by: Sage Publications, Inc. on behalf of the Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell University Stable URL: