KATHMANDU: The Regional Conference on Powering Sustainable Growth #WithHydropower was held on Thursday to scale up climate finance for hydropower in the South Asian region.
The event held at Hotel Himalayan was jointly organised by the Hydropower Sustainability Alliance (HSA); International Hydropower Association (IHA); Bizbell; Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad); Nepal Hydropower Association (NHA); USAID and Independent Power Producers’ Association, Nepal (IPPAN).
The regional conference was inaugurated by Minister for Energy, Water Resources, and Irrigation, Shakti Bahadur Basnet, who was also the chief guest of the event. After the inauguration, a short video was played which informed the participants about the need for sustainable growth as climate change has been posing a threat to life and livelihoods.
HSA Deputy Executive Director Alain Kilajia delivered the welcome speech. He spoke about the World Hydropower Congress that was held in Bali, Indonesia from October 31 to November 2, 2023. He thanked Norad for sponsoring 15 Nepali participants for the Bali congress. He further mentioned that the HSA was there to support Nepal in its hydropower development initiatives by adhering to global standards. He expressed his hope that the application of the Hydropower Sustainability Standard will allow Nepal to harness its water resources in a way that is sustainable and responsible, and ultimately help the country fulfil its climate duty to become the water battery of South Asia.
While talking about his experience, Urja Developers Managing Director Bhanu Bhakta Pokharel stated that he has participated in the World Hydropower Congress on different occasions but the recent one was a bit different as there was an enormous focus on hydropower development to meet net zero emission target and cross-border energy trade. He also shared that there was a global agreement that only developing hydropower was not enough and we also need to make it sustainable in the long run.
IPPAN President Ganesh Karki stressed that the government should be more open towards public-private partnerships for hydroelectricity development in Nepal. He also mentioned that the draft of the Electricity Bill 2023 which was tabled by the energy minister in the Lower House of the Parliament needed to be amended before implementation.