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For mountains and people
Low access to electricity and heavy reliance on traditional solid fuels for domestic cooking and heating are the hallmarks of poverty in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH).
For mountains and people
Lack of access to clean and safe energy takes a heavy toll on human health and time, particularly that of women and children, and the environment. This also impedes development and entrenches poverty. Nowhere are energy poverty and its consequences as precarious as in the remote rural mountain areas of the HKH where mountain communities are finding it increasingly difficult to meet their energy needs in a sustainable manner.
The primary thrust of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) on energy has always been to promote access to clean energy services for meeting the needs of dispersed rural mountain communities by way of the sustainable development of decentralized renewable energy options (such as biomass conversion, biogas, wind power, solar power, and mini/micro-hydro power, among others) that promote economically and environmentally sound livelihood options, reduce pressure on forests, reduce drudgery, and health hazards for women by acting as both a mitigation and an adaption response to the effects of climate change.
Conventional approaches to rural electrification, through a centralized grid connection have been unable to reach the poor residing in remote off-grid rural mountain communities scattered across the HKH, where levels of demand and affordability are low and the cost of providing electricity is high. This, together with the scale-sensitivity of mountains due to their fragile nature, makes decentralized renewable energy options more viable in mountain areas for meeting the energy needs of the poorest people.
In 2013, ICIMOD renewed its energy related activities. In the first two years, it created a range of knowledge products to lay the ground for future work. This was followed up by implementation work on the ground and further training programmes. Clean energy access is now considered crucial for achieving almost all sustainable development goals (SDGs) consistent priorities for the HKH, from its role in reducing poverty (through advancements in health, education, water supply, gender equality, agriculture, and industrialization) to addressing climate change adaption and mitigation. In the second phase, the focus on energy work has been somewhat similar to the first phase. In addition, we have looked at issues of community level benefit sharing from large hydro projects and emphasized the need for providing sustainable financial solutions for uptake of renewable energy technologies (RET).
ICIMOD is also in the process of setting up a Himalayan Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency which will act as a hub for renewable energy related work from all eight regional member countries.
Worldwide, the demand for energy has increased significantly in last two decades, leading to an increased use of non-renewable energy resources
News and features
Projects Implemented on the Ground
Solar powered irrigation pumps (SPIP) provides an alternative technology that has been tested widely in the region and has been found to be a technically proven and workable solution and is suited for all categories of farms – large holder, small holder and farms owned by women and men.
The DFAT Brahmaputra and Energy Special Project, supported by the Government of Australia under the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), is promoting research, and generating and documenting knowledge about the extent of water and equity issues in the HKH region.
Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Capability for the Hindu Kush Himalaya (REEECH) works to increase the adoption of green energy solutions among HKH’s communities and enterprises.