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Energizing Nepal: Developing a Research Agenda to Guide Sustainability Transitions

Energizing Nepal: Developing a Research Agenda to Guide Sustainability Transitions

Decorative: Local mini hydro plant in the Nepalese Himilayas

Amid rapid hydroelectric expansion, Nepal is transforming its energy landscape, moving from biomass and fossil fuels to renewable energy. Rich in hydropower resources, the nation is eager to pursue its dream of producing abundant hydroelectricity that will make it prosperous while maintaining sustainability goals.

The hasty development of hydropower across Nepal has sparked debate over its implications for society, the economy, and the environment. To shed light on the complex factors influencing the country’s energy transition, this research team will collaborate with the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), the Ministry of Forest and Environment (MOFE), and other key stakeholders. Their aim is to highlight knowledge gaps and co-develop a research agenda that will contribute to a just and equitable energy transition and align with national development and climate goals.

The team will conduct a literature review and collaborate with partners to create and widely disseminate a report on the state of energy access in Nepal, modeled on similar reports for three countries in Southern Africa and expected to inform future research. Additionally, the team will hold webinars and interviews with researchers and practitioners to capture diverse perspectives on the challenges, opportunities, and knowledge gaps associated with Nepal's energy transition. Lastly, they will present their findings at conferences to advance this work and foster collaboration with new partners.

The lessons learned from Nepal's experience are applicable beyond its borders. Other countries undergoing similar energy transitions can utilize these insights to address concerns about access, availability, and affordability.

Project team: Pamela Jagger, PI (School for Environment and Sustainability); Rajiv Ghimire, Co-I (School for Environment and Sustainability); Uttam Sharma, Co-I (Center for Global Health Equity | Institute for Social Research); Noah Guberman (Literature, Science, and the Arts)

This project received a $10,000 catalyst grant in Fall 2023.