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Benefits from a renewable energy village electrification system

Zahnd, A. and Mckay, K.H. (2009) Benefits from a renewable energy village electrification system. Renewable Energy, 34 (2). pp. 362-368.

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More than 100 years after Edison's life changing discovery, 1.6–2 billion people around the globe still live without light, in dark and smoke filled homes. The remote and impoverished Himalayan villages of upper Humla, in north-west Nepal, belong to some of the 2.4 billion people who still depend on the use of traditional biomass for their daily energy services such as cooking, heating and light. These activities on open fireplaces have a direct chronic impact on the health and extremely low life expectancy of the women and children along with devastating deforestation.

There is a strong relationship between prosperity and access to electricity. The more remote and isolated communities in Nepal generally live in great poverty. Eighty percent of Nepal's 28.5 million people live in rural areas, with around half of these so remote, that neither a road, nor the national grid is ever likely to reach them.

While Nepal has no fossil fuel resources, it is a country that is rich in renewable energy resources such as hydropower and solar energy. These abundant and locally available renewable energy resources can be tapped into with appropriate locally developed technologies. Generating and storing electrical energy derived from these rich local energy resources can provide for appropriate and sustainable lighting, which brings potential health, education, social and economic benefits to the people who have previously lived in homes with excessive indoor air pollution.

This paper describes the living conditions of some villages in upper Humla, and the possible benefits of a simple village electrification system that provides basic lighting for the homes and the consequent improvements in the living conditions of the villagers.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Copyright: © 2008 Elsevier Ltd.
Notes: Paper presented at WREN 2007 World Renewable Energy Network, Perth Western Australia, 4-7 February 2007
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