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FEATURE: Nepal’s district climate and energy plans

Nepal sees the interlinkages between economy, society, and environment as the key pillars of green growth and sustainable development. These three pillars are being mainstreamed into the development process through formulation of supportive national policies and by embedding this philosophy in climate change-related initiatives. The most prominent example of this has been the national government support provided to local governments to create District Climate and Energy Plans (DCEPs) in all 75 districts of Nepal. The main goal of a DCEP is to articulate a district-level renewable energy plan that accounts for the changing climate as well as economic and social dimensions, ultimately contributing to local and national sustainable development goals. The DCEP systematically addresses opportunities where renewable energy can contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation, and at the same increases the competitiveness of women and oppressed social groups by engaging them in productive energy use activities.

 A Supportive National Policy Environment

Nepal’s Climate Change Policy (2011) adopts a low-carbon emission,socio-economic development path. Policy objectives include promoting the use of clean energy, green technology, and increased energy efficiency; and enhancing the capacity of local communities for efficient management of natural resources. In addition, preparation of Nepal’s Low Carbon Economic Development Strategy (LCEDS) is underway and will be completed by December 2013. The Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment and the National Planning Commission are leading preparation of the LCEDS, and the Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC), an apex body to promote renewable energy technologies (RETs), is designated to manage the work of LCEDS formulation. The LCEDS will identify the key approaches and interventions to drive Nepal toward a low carbon growth path that fosters optimum economic development, and is expected to enable Nepal to access additional finance for responding to climate change.

District Climate and Energy Plans:Piloting the DCEP

Nepal piloted the DCEP process in three districts – Ilam, Makwanpur, and Mustang – resulting in concrete implementation plans to spur renewable energy adoption that is appropriate to each locale.

For example, in Ilam, the district assembled a multi-stakeholder task force to lead the DCEP process. The task force was comprised of senior local government officials such as a Local Development Officer, Planning Officer, and representatives from the District Energy and Environment Unit, District Chief of Women Development Office, non governmental organizations, renewable energy service providers, and other private sector actors such as financial institutions.

The task force collected and reviewed secondary and primary data to compile initial assessment findings on economic, social, and environmental conditions in Ilam to support energy planning. Energy scenario development and demand projections showed that in a business as usual case, energy demand in Ilam would increase by 3 percent by 2020, compared to 2010. The residential sector is and will likely continue to be the primary energy consumer, followed by a growing industrial sector, and a negligible commercial sector.

Through scenario analysis, the task force explored a range of possible outcomes through various RET interventions. Ilam primarily focused on the residential sector, the largest energy consumer, and recommended the following RETs in its DCEP:

  • Improved cook stoves
  • Biogas units
  • Solar home systems
  • Micro and picohydro
  • Improved water mills

Factors considered in prioritization included energy needs, energy demand growth, availability of resources, technology life-cycle cost,greenhouse gas mitigation potential, and anticipated social and economic benefits. The task force considered national government programs offering subsidies for various RETs, technical assistance and local capacity building activities, as well as local government and stakeholder support in determining financing options and feasibility of adopting the selected RETs.

Ilam is now operationalizing its three-year DCEP implementation plan (2011-2012 to 2013-2014) to fund, install, and monitor benefits of these RET interventions, and is working towards the district’s 10-year targets.

Additionally, the task force compiled specific recommendations to improve on the process of preparing and implementing a DCEP in Ilam, while also suggesting supplementary actions that government and non-governmental stakeholders can take to enable long-term success and achieve the greatest benefit from the DCEP process.

A Model for Other Districts

As an outcome of the pilots in the three districts, the AEPC has synthesized best practices and lessons learned into a guide book entitled the“DCEP Preparation Guideline”. The guidelines offer a systematic, step-by-step process and tools to help other districts to engage stakeholders, undertake assessments, and complete planning necessary to promote RET deployment in a way suited to district energy demand and resources.


DCEP provides a framework for decentralized energyplanning that is customized to local contexts and needs. At the district level, DCEP can align with other sectoral plans and programs, as well as broader development planning to promote a more consistent and comprehensive strategy. DCEP canalso be placed within a broaderframework that encapsulates national plans, moving Nepal towards a low-carbon emission, socio-economic development pathway.With successful outputs from three pilot initiatives, AEPC plans to support formulation of DCEPs in the remaining 72 districts in Nepal. DCEPs will play an important role in providing inputs to national renewable energy planning, following a bottom-up approach.

For more information on Nepal’s renewable energy initiatives, visit:

To read the full story, download the full briefing note:Asia LEDS Partnership Case Study – Nepal’s District Climate and Energy Plans

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