Nepal faces soaring energy demands as its economy rapidly grows. With approximately 1 GW of installed hydropower capacity the country’s hydropower potential is immense, reported to be upwards of 50GW.
Sustainability must be at the heart of future development as Nepal’s energy sector expands, to make sure that increases in the country’s clean energy generation do not come at the expense of its environment, communities and waterways.
The International Hydropower Association (IHA) sponsored by the World Bank’s Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) recently delivered a 7-week course in Nepal to teach hydropower professionals how to upgrade the sustainability of their projects in line with the topics covered in the Hydropower Sustainability Standard. The Standard is a globally-recognised certification for the environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance of hydropower projects.
“By implementing the Hydropower Sustainability Standard, Nepal could become the model of sustainable development of hydropower in the world” said Dr Surya Kumar Sapkota, Director of the Alternative Energy Promotion Centre at Nepal’s Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation.
“This training has significantly improved my knowledge on the Hydropower Sustainability Standard, and has opened my eyes that implementation of the Standard in hydropower projects can increase the benefits to all.”
IHA’s Hydropower Sustainability Training is designed to equip participants with the knowledge and skills to manage environmental and social issues in hydropower development. It is designed to teach trainees how to align their projects against the Standard, exploring the twelve topics it covers.
“Hydropower projects can be transformational for a variety of reasons and it is this transformational nature of hydropower projects that often make them both complex and rewarding to pursue,” said Pravin Karki, Global Lead for Hydropower and Dams at the World Bank group.
“If planned sustainably in Nepal, they can provide benefits to local communities. We now have knowledge base and tools which are in place to ensure that projects are implemented sustainably and responsibly, following best practices such as the sustainability standards.”
Image: An online Hydropower Sustainability Training session led by IHA’s Sustainability team
The Hydropower Sustainability Standard is the only certification system for sustainability in the renewables sector. Aligned with green bonds initiatives, it can help hydropower projects across the world to reach their sustainability potential.
“Nepal, like many countries will be looking to invest in renewable energy as the planet moves towards net zero targets” said IHA Sustainability Specialist Amina Kadyrzhanova, “Our suite of training programmes, developed in counsel with the hydropower industry, environmental NGOs and global financial institutions are key to ensuring that only sustainable hydropower is being used to power future grids.
“I want to thank the World Bank and ESMAP for making this training possible, helping to provide local professionals with the tools to harness Nepal’s sustainable hydropower potential.”