Mountain households typically rely on traditional biomass such as wood for cooking and heating. That takes a heavy toll on the environment, human health and time, particularly for the women and children who must collect it, while the lack of access to affordable, clean and sustainable energy impedes development and entrenches poverty.
Caught between poverty and environmental degradation, mountain communities find it difficult to meet daily energy service needs sustainably. The cost of providing electricity is high in the numerous poor, off-the-grid communities scattered across the Hindu Kush Himalayas. Conventional approaches to rural electrification through a centralized power plant and power line distribution have been unable to reach these areas, which are often remote, rugged and dispersed.
ICIMOD aims to find sustainable energy solutions by addressing three broad criteria of sustainability: availability, affordability, and acceptability. It is currently working for a greener future through programs that include impact documentation of best practices, impact assessment, analysis of renewable energy policy and mainstreaming, and promoting decentralized renewable energy for rural mountain areas so that clean, sustainable energy can become available for every household.