Call to improve access to modern energy services

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    energy-starKATHMANDU, JAN 30 – Vice-Chairman of the National Planning Commission (NPC) Govinda Raj Pokhrel has said that there is a need to maintain an efficient coordination mechanism for providing access to modern lighting and cookingenergy services.

    Addressing a programme entitled Achieving Broader Access to Clean Cooking and Lighting—Challenges and Innovative Financing Modalities in Nepal organised by the SNV Netherlands Development Organisation on Thursday, Pokhrel said the government was financially capable but faced challenges in terms of implementation and coordination.

    “There is no dearth of capital and this is not an issue for Nepal,” Pokhrel said. “We need to improve the implementation mechanism and promote local innovations to cater to the demand of the people. Pokhrel added that Nepal was struggling with the problem of providing access to modern lighting and cooking energy services.

    “Only 56 percent of the households in the country have access to electricity (including off-grid solutions) and more than 3 million rural Nepalis do not have access to clean cooking,” Pokhrel said. Ensuring a swift and urgent initiative to provide broader access to clean cooking and lighting is crucial for achieving economic growth and win the fight against energypoverty, he added.

    If there is innovation and effective implementation capability, cheap credit can be issued to the alternative and renewable energy sector the same way as agricultural loans at an interest rate of 6 percent, said Pokhrel. The NPC vice-chairman added that the country’s planning authority was trying to orient bureaucrats in a way that would enable them to digest the ideas of the private sector and cooperate in the development agenda.

    Similarly, senior advisor at the World Bank Jie Tang said that there was a need to identify the right products and maintain a supply chain. “The supply chain needs to be created with the active participation of the private sector,” Tang said.

    Kjartan Gullbra, senior technical advisor at the Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC), said that the aim of achieving Clean Cooking Solution for All by 2017 would not be possible without changing the current modality. “For achieving it, there is a need to promote the private sector not just as a technology supplier but also as an energy service provider,” Gullbra added.

    Deputy chief executive officer of the Clean Energy Development Bank (CEDB) Barsha Shrestha said that financial institutions were ready to promote innovative ideas by adding value to it.

    “The CEDB has provided capital amounting to more than Rs 1.5 billion to renewable energyprojects. We are ready to go for more if there are innovative projects,” Shrestha said.

    Likewise, Tika Limbu, deputy country director at the Asian Development Bank (ADB), said that there was a need to form and formulate an integrated energy policy. According to him, the issue of clean energy needs to be brought under the social framework like health and education. “Only this way can we power distant households,” Limbu said.

    All the stakeholders held the common view that effective and innovative financing instruments could help to mobilise funds to achieve the UN goal of universal energy access by 2030 and dwell upon the climate finance-linked performance payment approaches.

    According to SNV data, 3.4 million rural households in Nepal do not have access to clean cooking and 1.37 million rural households do not have access to clean lighting.

    Source : eKantipur