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Synthesis Workshop

Renewable energy transitions

A comparative assessment of the Hindu Kush Himalaya, Andes, and Alps

Venue

Zoom

Date & Time

07 April 2021 to 09 April 2021

Contact

Chi Huyen Truong

Organizers: Jointly sponsored by ICIMOD’s Himalayan University Consortium and the Mountain Research Initiative (MRI), and coordinated by the University of Arizona’s Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy

 

Background

The impacts of climate change in mountain regions are accentuated by elevation-dependent warming and precipitation variability higher than in other regions, coupled with greater dependence of mountain communities on local sources of energy and other resources. Energy systems are central to climate change both as drivers and responses. The development and use of energy resources, particularly fossil fuels, are the principal causes of global warming. At the same time, climate-change impacts across a range of social and ecological systems require mitigation and adaptation in which less carbon-intensive energy uses play a central role. Especially in mountain regions, energy-use alternatives can be constrained due to inadequate infrastructure, remoteness, and reliance on traditional forms of energy that may be difficult to diversify.

This workshop, jointly sponsored by ICIMOD’s Himalayan University Consortium and the Mountain Research Initiative (MRI), and coordinated by the University of Arizona’s Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy, is a community-led activity bringing together experts including young professionals to connect and synthesize existing data, information, publications, and/or other forms of knowledge to provide new insights on the state of mountains and renewable energy transitions in a global context.

 

Objectives

This virtual workshop aims to synthesize current understanding and address future challenges related to energy transitions in mountain regions with an emphasis on renewable energy in the context of climate change in the Hindu Kush Himalaya, Andes, and Alps.

Forty workshop participants from all three regions, half of them women, will address current challenges in mountain regions related to climate change impacts on energy systems with an emphasis on renewables and transitions towards carbon neutrality as well as to present and discuss adaptation solutions by mountain communities and economic sectors.

 

Agenda

Time: 19:45–22:15 (NPT), 16:00–18:30 (CEST), 07:00–09:30 (U.S. MST)

Time(NPT) Time(CEST) Time(MST) Topic Speakers/Facilitators
19:45-19:55 16:00-16:10 7:00-7:10 Welcome remarks Pema Gyamtsho, ICIMOD

Carolina Adler, Mountain Research Initiative (MRI)

19:55-20:15 16:10-16:30 7:10-7:30 Workshop overview, participants and regions represented Christopher Scott, University of Arizona
20:15-20:30 16:30-16:45 7:30-7:45 Mountain regions and global headwaters Daniel Viviroli, University of Zurich
20:30-20:45 16:45-17:00 7:45-8:00 Discussion and Q&A Moderator:  Padmendra Shrestha, University of Arizona
20:45-21:00 17:00-17:15 8:00-8:15 The role of hydropower in Switzerland’s energy strategy Daniel Viviroli, University of Zurich
21:00-21:15 17:15-17:30 8:15-8:30 Discussion and Q&A Moderator:  Padmendra Shrestha, University of Arizona
21:15-21:30 17:30-17:45 8:30-8:45 Break  
21:30-21:45 17:45-18:00 8:45-9:00 Energy ecosystem for the transition towards a low carbon society in HKH region: Opportunities and Partnerships Biraj Singh Thapa, Kathmandu University
21:45-21:55 18:00-18:10 9:00-9:10 Discussion and Q&A Moderator: Sebastián Riera Yankeliovich, Universidad Nacional de Cuyo
21:55-22:10 18:10-18:25 9:10-9:25 Breakout group discussion, synthesis  
22:10-22:15 18:25-18:30 9:25-9:30 Announcements for Day 2
22:15 18.30 9:30 Adjourn

Time(NPT) Time(CEST) Time(MST) Topic Speakers/Facilitators
19:45-20:00 16:00-16:15 7:00-7:15 Energy transition in the Mendoza, Argentina Andes: Regional insights Sebastián Riera Yankeliovich, Universidad Nacional de Cuyo
20:00-20:15 16:15-16:30 7:15-7:30 Discussion and Q&A Fabian Drenkhan, Imperial College London
20:15-20:30 16:30-16:45 7:30-7:45 Governance of complex trade-offs between mitigation and adaptation in the Swiss Alps Elke Kellner, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL
20:30-20:45 16:45-17:00 7:45-8:00 Discussion and Q&A Moderator:  Sarala Khaling, ATREE
20:45-21:00 17:00-17:15 8:00-8:15 The journey to renewable Energy: Narratives from Bhutan and HKH Medha Bisht, South Asian University
21:00-21:15 17:15-17:30 8:15-8:30 Discussion and Q&A Moderator:  Elke Kellner, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL
21:15-21:30 17:30-17:45 8:30-8:45 Break  
21:30-21:45 17:45-18:00 8:45-9:00 Water resource conflicts and hydropower in the tropical Andes: Governance and feasibility of multi-purpose projects Fabian Drenkhan, Imperial College London
21:45-21:55 18:00-18:10 9:00-9:10 Discussion and Q&A Moderator:  Padmendra Shrestha, University of Arizona
21:55-22:10 18:10-18:25 9:10-9:25 Breakout group discussion, synthesis  
22:10-22:15 18:25-18:30 9:25-9:30 Announcements for Day 3
22:15 18:30 9:30 Adjourn

Time(NPT) Time(CEST) Time(MST) Topic Speakers/Facilitators
19:45-20:00 16:00-16:15 7:00-7:15 Hydropower in the HKH: Threats and Opportunities in the Face of Climate Change Kasvi Singh, TERI School of Advanced Studies
20:00-20:15 16:15-16:30 7:15-7:30 Discussion and Q&A Moderator:  Sebastián Vicuña, Pontificia Universidad, Católica de Chile
20:15-20:30 16:30-16:45 7:30-7:45 Challenges and opportunities of hydropower in the Chilean Andes in a climate change world Sebastián Vicuña, Pontificia Universidad, Católica de Chile
20:30-20:45 16:45-17:00 7:45-8:00 Discussion and Q&A Moderator: Biraj Singh Thapa, Kathmandu University
20:45-21:00 17:00-17:15 8:00-8:15 Himalayan floods raise questions on the sustainability of hydropower Padmendra Shrestha, University of Arizona
21:00-21:15 17:15-17:30 8:15-8:30 Discussion and Q&A Moderator:  Daniel Viviroli, University of Zurich
21:15-21:30 17:30-17:45 8:30-8:45 Break  
21:30-21:45 17:45-18:00 8:45-9:00 Workshop synthesis Christopher Scott, University of Arizona
21:45-22:10 18:00-18:25 9:00-9:25 Plenary session: pathways of workshop proceedings  
22:10-22:15 18:25-18:30 9:25-9:30 Closing remarks Chi Huyen Truong (Shachi), ICIMOD
22:15 18:30 9:30 Adjourn

 

Speakers/Facilitators

Biraj Singh Thapa, Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Kathmandu University

Carolina Adler, Executive Director, Mountain Research Initiative (MRI)

Chi Huyen Truong (Shachi), Program coordinator, Himalayan University Consortium (HUC)

Christopher Scott, Director, Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy and Professor, School of Geography and Development, University of Arizona

Daniel Viviroli, Research group leader, Mountain Hydrology in Hydrology & Climate unit, Department of Geography, University of Zurich

Elke Kellner, Postdoctoral researcher, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL

Fabian Drenkhan, RAHU Project, Imperial College London

Kasvi Singh, Master’s student, Economics (specializing in Environmental and Resource Economics), TERI School of Advanced Studies

Medha Bisht, Senior Assistant Professor, Department of International Relations, South Asian University

Padmendra Shrestha, PhD student, School of Geography, Development & Environment, University of Arizona

Sarala Khaling, Regional Director, Eastern Himalaya/Northeast India, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology & the Environment (ATREE), India

Sebastián Riera Yankeliovich, Postdoctoral researcher AACREA-CONICET, Universidad Nacional de Cuyo

Sebastián Vicuña, Director, Centro de Cambio Global, Associate Professor, School of Engineering, Pontificia Universidad, Católica de Chile

 

Workshop proceedings

The workshops served to highlight lessons learned and ways forward, drawing on multiple perspectives of researchers, practitioners, agencies and NGOs in an effort to bridge the experiences and challenges of critical mountain regions globally.

Challenges include: supply diversification including carbon neutrality and beyond; demand management (including consumptive and productive energy uses and associated equity concerns); energy justice with equity in access and inclusive decision-making; climate resilience for carbon mitigation with transformative adaptation.

Hydropower in an energy system uniquely identified with mountain. How is this understood in transition terms (as bridge energy to low-impact renewables, or low/zero-carbon alternative to fossil fuels, or both, or other)? The scale of hydropower (and siting on smaller streams within a basin-wide perspective) vs. long-term feasibility of HP plants is critically important. Hydropower should not be thought of just as government projects but needs to include local control and ownership. The planning stage of hydropower development must move toward implementation, with special attention to operations and maintenance, rural power supply, environmental protection, relocation/resettlement with social equity and rural revitalization.

Governance of energy transitions involves, among other factors, decision-making, decentralization, risk impact and assessment. Overcoming energy poverty will require expanded access, localization, and community-centered development with emphasis on sustainable livelihoods and sustainable development frameworks.

 

Summary Presentation