“Clean energy has gone from being the ‘right thing to do’ in combating climate change, to being the most cost-effective option for many energy-insecure countries,” said Carrie Thompson, deputy director of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Regional Development Mission for Asia, during a day-long conference on renewable energy at the Wilson Center on October 27 (read part one of our coverage here).
The world has entered a new energy era. Last year, for the first time in four decades, the global economy grew without an increase in CO2 emissions, according to the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century.
›October 11, 2012 // By Wilson Center Staff
Spend a day in Kathmandu, Nepal’s sprawling capital of four million people, and you’ll quickly notice what has long been a fact of life in this landlocked Himalayan country, and many other South Asian nations – no reliable electricity supply exists. Up to eight times a day, neighborhoods throughout the city suffer rolling power cuts due to load shedding, causing residents and businesses alike to either carry on in the darkness or rely on expensive, diesel-consuming generators to keep the lights on. Although the country’s civil war ended in 2006, carrying the promise of restored domestic stability and accelerated economic development, Nepal’s economy has remained hamstrung by an inconsistent energy supply, with only 40 percent of the population having access to electricity. This situation persists despite the fact that the country sits on top of a virtual goldmine – an estimated 80,000 megawatts (MW) of untapped hydroelectricity, of which it has harnessed a scant 700 MW.
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