Darbang Nepal – a local sustainable energy scheme
Darbang is a small community in the Himalayan Mountains in Nepal, located between Kathmandu and the Tibetan border. The area has been traditionally occupied by subsistence farmers, with some rearing of livestock. A micro-hydro scheme has been constructed with the support of the World Bank and came into operation in 2009.
Why was a local, sustainable energy scheme introduced in Darbang?
The micro-hydro scheme was introduced in the Darbang because:
- economic growth is restricted in this remote settlement in the foothills of the Himalayas
- there is a lack of electricity in the area
- roads are impassable during the monsoon season
- there is a low population density
- it was uneconomic to construct an electricity grid
What are the main features of the scheme?
The main features of the scheme include:
- it was government-funded
- a low-cost energy solution at US$51,000
- the project was supported by the World Bank
- it would solve the energy deficit in the region
What are the benefits of the scheme?
The benefits of the scheme include:
- the low maintenance and running costs
- 700 households have a reliable energy supply
- small environmental impact
- local materials and labour were used
- reduced the risk of flooding in the area
- deforestation for fuel has reduced
- the project is community-owned
- since becoming operational in 2009 there has been an influx of industry including furniture workshops, noodle factory and cement block manufacturer
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