Asta-Ja and Energy Security in 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.
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