Nepal has been facing regular electricity shortages for decades now. Currently the country suffers from regular power cuts of up to 16 hours a day. The current electricity demand requires a capacity of at least 1000 MW, with an annual rolling increase of 100 MW.
To date, Nepal’s electricity production relies entirely on hydropower (currently 500 MW under best conditions). Power generation can drop by up to 70% less in dry winters, resulting in massive power cuts. To compensate for this, an ever-growing number of diesel and petrol generators are used by businesses and private households. This has disastrous effects on Nepal’s climate and its carbon footprint.
SUN NEST research shows that solar power backup systems are the best option to bridge the gap of power shortages, for a country like Nepal.
The ongoing climate change results in warmer temperatures that lead to melting glaciers around the world. Scientists have predicted that 80% of all major glaciers in the world will soon disappear if the warming rates continue at the current speed.
Melting water from these glaciers flows into thousands of glacial lakes in Nepal and throughout the Himalayas. Although the majority of lakes are secured by dams, their holding capacity is limited and they may burst under an increase of melting water. This in turn can and will cause catastrophic flooding of whatever may lie below the base of the glacial lake, including towns and cities.
The shrinking of glaciers in the Himalayas has been going on for over 100 years, however increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere over the past 30 years have dramatically increased the rate of melting. In addition, the increasing level of soot (black carbon) in the polluted air has darkened the surface of glaciers. Soot is a by-product from energy generation through diesel generators, burning firewood, crop waste, and cow dung. The layer of soot on glaciers absorbs sunlight that would otherwise be reflected by the snow, and therefore accelerates glacial melting. This places Nepal in a potentially catastrophic position and therefore something must be done immediately to reduce CO2 emissions and smoke pollution.
Shifting energy sources away from those that create black carbon emission means more attention must be paid to alternative sources such as solar energy. More specifically the solution for Nepal is to urgently switch from using dangerous fossil fuel energy sources to using sustainable, clean and renewable energy sources like wind and solar energy.