The 3-part edition called "Resilient Enterprise in Nepal" features two pioneers of Nepal's small-scale hydro context, revealing how its hydro mini-grid sector has scaled to over 3000 projects, created local manufacturing jobs, and strengthened rural livelihoods, even in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake.
Dipti Vaghela, the Manager of the Hydro Empowerment Network (HPNET), introduces the speakers, Bikash Pandey, Director of Clean Energy at Winrock International, and Bir Bahadur Ghale, Founder and Managing Director of Hydro Concern Pvt. Ltd. and provides an overview of the topic. Both speakers are renown for their pioneering work of over 35 years.
Dipti chats with Bikash about the key actors that paved the way for micro hydro development in Nepal and the stages through which the sector evolved over the past four decades. The micro hydro sector is known to have its earliest roots in Nepal within the S/SE Asia region. In this discussion, we delve into the pivotal reasons for which the country has one of the most dynamic micro hydro programs around the world. Tune in to hear how multi-actor collaboration resulted in an ecosystem that scaled-up hydro mini grids, enabling energy access in over 3000 communities in rural Nepal.
Bikash dialogues with Bir Bahadur, taking us on a journey of the renown Barpak hydro mini-grid, developed by Bir Bahadur Ghale in his home village 1991, when he was 24 years of age. Being his first project and having no previous experience, he shares the obstacles he encountered and how he overcame them, including acquiring technical and financial skills to go onto developing hundreds of projects to date. We also learn about the impact of the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Barpak, the epicenter of the disaster, the rehabilitation of the micro hydro project, and the critical role it played in rebuilding the village and its economy. Established using a social enterprise approach, 30 years later the Barpak project is a prime example of a hydro mini-grid that is self-sustainable, providing electricity to over 1200 and many village-based enterprises. Bir Bahadur Ghale's approach has transformed the economic resilience of the community.
In this final part of the 3-part dialogue, we learn about Bir Bahadur Ghale's journey beyond Barpak, gaining insight on how energy access can be accelerated by proven developers. The dialogue also discusses different types of ownership models and the factors for success of each. The conversation concludes with policy recommendations to accelerate energy access in Nepal, and the role of energy access in pandemic era economic recovery.
Over the next few days, we’ll be posting the questions below, in our post-Chat social media forum. Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
- How can governments better support local manufacturers, producing local jobs and enhancing skill sets?
- What are the different roles that subsidies and loans have in scaling up mini-grids? Can they complement each other?
- What can help enable communities to identify financially viable productive end use?
- What productive end uses can especially be leveraged by and benefit women?
- How have mini-grids played a role in economic recovery and resilience of communities in the pandemic age ?
- What types of policies can support community-private partnerships to accelerate energy access?
In case you missed it
Check out our first edition of StreamSide Chats in which we discussed the role of micro hydro in contributing to long term rural economic recovery and resilience in the pandemic era.
📽️: StreamSide Chats - Edition 1, Recovery & Resilience