Absence of a clear and coherent energy policy is undermining efforts at developing alternatives to the dwindling fossil fuel supply and the underexploited but highly touted hydroelectricity. In this scenario, alternative sources of energy like solar power, bio-diesel, ethanol, biogas or even wind energy can fill up the gaps. But before that, the feasibility of these sources needs to be explored. At present, there is no coordinated mechanism to do so as the responsibilities of those entrusted with meeting the energy needs of the country — Ministry of Water Resources, Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology and Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies — are ill defined.

As a result, the three ministries conduct their businesses on an ad hoc basis. Environmentalists have pointed out that the huge amount of human excreta generated in the capital can be used to light up bulbs, cook food and run small vehicles. The potential of wind power in the windy Tarai districts remains unexplored. Again, it all points to the need of an energy policy that spells out the expectations of each organisation. The country’s over-reliance on fossil fuels has had disastrous consequences, and huge dependence on foreign donors to back huge hydroelectricity projects has been unfruitful too. The country should, in the long run, be capable of producing energy through her internal resources and utilising it for the benefit of her people.