Renewable energy village, Nepal

In Nepal Practical Action has established an "Energy Village" demonstrating how renewable energies, micro hydro, solar and wind can make an enormous benefit to income generation and local development without increasing carbon dioxide emissions.

The provision of energy is critical to help people escape poverty. Renewable energy technologies offer clean and sustainable options for generating energy. When owned and managed in the right way they can make a dramatic contribution to poverty reduction.

The majority of the population in rural Nepal still does not have access to basic energy services and they cannot afford commercial fuels such as LPG gas or kerosene. In places where natural resources such as the sun, wind and water provide potential sources of renewable energy, communities generally lack (in addition to the initial funds) the information, knowledge and expertise needed to make decisions about the most appropriate systems and their installation.

Practical Action's Renewable Energy Village in a Chepang Village in Gorhka district has meant that 67 households now have access to lighting from renewable energy sources. These sources include wind/solar hybrid, micro-hydro, pico-hydro and solar lanterns.

The project aims to increase income and build capacities of poor Chepangs in development and management of infrastructure facilities. In addition to energy for lighting the  following activities have also been undertaken:

  • Installation of 11 Bio-Gas plants as a source of clean energy
  • Installation of 47 Smoke hoods for alleviating kitchen smoke in 47 households.
  • Construction of 10 demonstration ECOSAN toilets for improving household sanitation 
  • Training on marketing of local products 
  • Introduction of solar dryers for agro-processing

One man's dream brought light to the village

Lukman Praja is a chepang farmer residing in Bhumlichowk VDC of Gorkha district. Chepangs are of an indigenous ethnic group who are also one of the most disadvantaged communities with lowest level of literacy. Until a few years back they did not even have citizenship cards and nor ownership certificates of their lands.

Nuprang village, where Luk Man lives, has only five households and is just 3 km off the national highway. In spite of being so close to the highway the villagers are deprived of basic public facilities. Further, they are deprived of electricity even though the national grid passes near the village. And there is no possibility of getting it for many years to come.

Practical Action visited Luk Man's village and Luk Man supported the team by providing relevant information and requested Practical Action to bring electricity their village. However it was tricky providing an electricity facility for just five households from micro-hydro or from the national grid.

To solve this problem several technological options were considered and a wind & solar hybrid panel was installed. Villagers remained sceptical about the scheme but celebrated through song and dance when the first electricity was provided.

The villagers experienced a better quality of life after electricity was introduced. Children began to study in a better environment and the household sanitation improved. Working in the kitchen was not troublesome for Lukman's wife anymore, as she does not have to use a wick lamp. As a result the overall health of the village also improved.

Practical Action is addressing the adverse impacts of climate change on vulnerable communities in Nepal, including floods and landslides.

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External links

Practical Action was the focus of the 2006 Guardian Christmas Appeal. Read more about our projects to combat climate change in Nepal at Guardian Online:

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