Alternative energy initiatives grapple with funds crunch

Kathmandu, December 8:

Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC) today said that it was facing shortage of funds to accomplish its alternative energy related programmes.

In a coordination meeting with external development partners today, the government agency working for the promotion of alternative energy, said a fund gap of $69 million was hindering the progress of alternative energy related programmes.

AEPC is currently conducting alternative energy related programmes such as Energy Sector Assistant Programme (ESAP), Biogas Support Programme (BSP), Rural Energy Development Programme (REDP), Renewable Energy Project (REP), Improved Water Mill Programme (IWMP) and wind technology.

Dr Govinda Raj Pokharel, executive director of the AEPC, said there was a fund gap of $25 million for the ESAP, $16 million each for BSP and REDP and five, four and three million, respectively, for REP, IWMP and wind energy technology related projects. Pokharel called for the support of international partner agencies to support the programmes.

Some seven per cent of the country’s population has access to rural energy technology, which has been generating 500 jobs a year and has been employing over 8,000 people. It has helped reduce the consumption of firewood by 51 per cent and has reduced the consumption of kerosene by 50 to 100 litres per household. Biogas plants have helped

earn millions of rupees through clean development mechanism (CDM). The AEPC hopes to reduce the use of fossil fuel by 40 per cent by 2027.

“Energy is a fundamental necessity for the nation’s development. The severe energy crisis in the country can be ended by promoting alternative energy,” Science and Technology Minister Ganesh Shah said, adding there is a need to focus on the development of solar, micro-hydro, biogas and other alternative energy sources. Shah also called on international development partners to support alternative energy programmes.