The adjective used to describe Nepal has very often been limited to ‘small’, ‘poor’, and ‘low income’ among many others. With this narrative, the Nepali people mostly have been conditioned to think of Nepal as a small developing country that is far from attaining prosperity in the most basic terms. With this also comes the realization that almost all of the sectors of the country are lacking effectiveness in carrying out the intended activities. Due to this, the idea of Nepal becoming a 100% electric country or even as basic as switching to renewable energy sources is considered far from attainable. Moving past this very conditioning has become more essential than ever, for there are many reasons to do so.
As of 2017, electricity had reached 95.5% of the Nepali population as per the Energy Progress Report which is an increase from 65% in 2010. The same report also states that Nepal’s access to electricity increased at an annual rate of 4.3%, which is greater than the global average of 0.8 %. This highlights how Nepal is ahead in reaching the target set by the Sustainable Development Goals-7 2030 i.e. ‘universal access to affordable, reliable, and modern energy services by 2030’. Further, the most relatable scenario for Nepali people is that the country has been load-shedding free since 2018.
Despite this progress on the coverage of electricity access, about the same number of households use traditional forms of energy such as firewood, coal, and other sources that cause direct negative health effects. While 31% of the total Nepali population primarily relies on clean fuels and technologies for cooking, 69% are still dependent on polluting fuels and technologies for the same purpose as of 2019. Improved cooking stoves, Liquefied Petroleum Gases (LPGs), and biogas technologies are among the technologies that are being utilized to decrease this reliance while electricity remains hardly used even though electricity is actually a cheaper option than LPG. This raises the issues of reliability and affordability as most Nepali households perceive it to be of higher cost and unreliable.
In line with this, as per a report published by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS, Nepal) in 2019, the gasoline consumption of Nepali people has almost doubled in the last five years, which is to say that Nepali people consumed 90% more fuel than they did five years ago. Because of this, the country’s petroleum demand has been surging by 10% annually despite the regular supply of electricity, leading to an accelerating trade deficit while also causing environmental consequences.
The positives that have come from the progress reports are that Nepal, one of the least electrified countries, was also among the fastest electrifying countries. It clearly indicates that Nepal has the potential to positively transform itself. However, even though this is laudable, a strong political will and commitment backed by long-term planning in the energy sector which is also analyzed and tracked time and again is majorly lacking. The enormity of these impediments is that it can prevent Nepal from attaining its target of 100% electricity access by 2043 as laid out in its 15th plan.
Considering this, the priority now has to be given towards inclusion (engaging and awaring people from the non-energy sector, youths, and growing enterprises to understand and adopt renewable energy sources) and addressing the challenge that persists in clean energy. To start with, educating female members of the households about clean energy options, electricity usage, and costs has to be prioritized because, in a developing country like Nepal, female household members play a significant role in collecting and choosing fuels at low-income levels. Thus, if female members along with youths are educated and engaged in the discourses around energy, then the entire household’s willingness to adopt electricity can be made possible.
Besides, strengthening local communities in the current federal structure and capacitating them to form as well as advocate for policies on clean energy can also definitely be a start as plans and policies implemented in the communities play a vital role in the energy choices of the households.
Electricity and clean energy have slowly made headway in the race for the energy transition in Nepal. Remarkable progress has, undoubtedly, been achieved till today but re-evaluating it is more important now than ever. Newer and more committed strategies like the ones mentioned above have to be applied for electrifying Nepal to its fullest potential. By doing so, people’s growing interest in clean energy consumption and their changing attitudes can be targeted. If the effectiveness of these strategies is 100% monitored and tracked, 100% electricity access to Nepali people is definitely not a distant dream.
 Rijal, Prahlad. ‘95.5 percent of Nepalis have electricity connection, report says’, The Kathmandu Post, 4 June 2019. Retrieved from- https://kathmandupost.com/money/2019/06/04/955-percent-of-nepalis-have-an-electricity-connection-report-says
 ‘Proportion of population with primary reliance on polluting fuels and technologies for cooking (%)’, World Health Organization, accessed on 29 June 2021. Retrieved from- https://www.who.int/data/gho/data/indicators/indicator-details/GHO/gho-phe-population-with-primary-reliance-on-polluting-fuels-and-technologies-for-cooking-proportion
 Paudel, D., Jeuland, M. and Lohani, S.P. ‘Cooking-energy transition in Nepal: Trend review”, Clean Energy 2021, 1-9.
 Prasain, Krishana. “Feasibility study for extending oil pipeline to Chitwan completed”, The Kathmandu Post, 10 March 2021. Retrieved from- https://kathmandupost.com/money/2021/03/10/feasibility-study-for-extending-oil-pipeline-to-chitwan-completed