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Nepal: Energy Portfolio
Transcript of Nepal: Energy Portfolio
Nepal is located in South Asia, between India and China. Its population is approximately 27.8 million.
Nepal is mainly a mountainous region, encompassing several mountain ranges and part of the Himalayas. Its climactic conditions vary in accordance with the elevation. Parts of the country can reach extreme temperatures in the summer and winter. Nepal is home to a variety of religions, languages, and cultures.
Living standards in Nepal vary between regions, but in general they are quite low. A large percentage (25.2%) is considered to be impoverished. Access to water is often limited in rural areas, and food shortages are common. Less than half the population has access to electricity.
Energy use of a typical Nepalese person throughout the day
Lighting (electricity, kerosene lamps, or candles)
Cooking (hearth or kerosene stove)
Heating (sometimes electrical, but usually wood or coal)
In general, people living in Nepal use less energy because their income is low and such services are limited. Even households with electricity sometimes use lamps and candles for lighting, as power outages are frequent.
Energy Use per Capita
382.64 kilograms of oil equivalent (kgoe) -The Global Economy.com
382.6 kgoe -UNdata
2.970 million British thermal units (BTU) -US EIA
74.963 million BTU -US EIA
7032.46 kgoe -The Global Economy.com
7032.3 kgoe -UNdata
312.786 BTU -US EIA
Converting 'kilograms of oil equivalent per year" to 'gallons of gasoline per day'
46 x 10 Joules
1 gal gasoline
1.31 x 10 Joules
= 0.3681 gallons of gasoline per day
Converting 'British Thermal Units per year' to 'gallons of gasoline per day'
1 gal gasoline
1.31 x 10 Joules
= 0.0655 gallons of gasoline per day
0.3681 gal gas/day -The Global Economy.com
0.3680 gal gas/day -UNdata
0.0655 gal gas/day -US EIA
6.7655 gal gas/day -The Global Economy.com
6.7654 gal gas/day -UNdata
6.9014 gal gas/day -US EIA
1.6540 gal gas/day -US EIA
From the bar graph, you can see that the energy use per capita of Nepal, the US, and the world are very different. The US clearly uses far more energy per person than the world average. Several factors may contribute to this, including the fact that people in the US do a considerable amount of driving. In addition, most American households are equipped with air conditioning systems and other appliances such as clothing washers and dryers. Americans also spend a lot of time using computers or watching TV.
In contrast, the inhabitants of Nepal rarely have such appliances.
Those that do have electricity use it less. The washing of clothes and dishes is done by hand, and small kerosene stoves or hearths are used for cooking rather than the electric stoves often used elsewhere. There are few cars in Nepal; even in the city, people get around in buses, rickshaws, and motorcycles, or on foot. Nepal is not as advanced as the US and most of the rest of the world, which is another reason that its people consume so little energy.
The Global Economy (www.theglobaleconomy.com)
UN Data (www.data.un.org)
U.S. Energy Information Administration (www.eia.gov)
Nepal by Jon Burbank
The World Bank (data.worldbank.org)
energypedia.info - Nepal energy situation
Nepal uses various types of energy. These include biomass/solid fuels (wood, charcoal, cropwaste, and dung) which are mainly used for cooking, fossil fuels (natural gas, coal, and petroleum), and renewable energy (biogas, hydro, solar).
Nepal does not have any significant reserves of oil, gas, or coal. Rather, water is its best available energy resource. Unfortunately, very little of it is being utilized.
Petroleum products 9%
Other Renewables 1%
Biomass is by far the most used source of energy, primarily for cooking and heating purposes.
Domestic or Imported?
Biomass, Nepal's most used energy source, is 100% domestic. Firewood, which accounts for most of this energy, is harvested from the forests of Nepal.
Since the country has no major reserves of petroleum or coal (the second and third most important energy sources, respectively), these are almost entirely imported. India supplies all petroleum products and nearly all coal used in Nepal. According to energypedia.info:
Overall, Nepal supplies much of its own energy but is still heavily dependent on imported fossil fuels.
Petroleum products are often used in urban households as the main source of cooking energy. They are also used for heating purposes.
Coal is mainly used as an energy source for the industrial sector.
Hydropower is a major natural resource of Nepal, but it has not yet been harnessed efficiently.
Similarly, solar energy is becoming more readily available but still poorly distributed.
Biogas energy from dung
"75 % of the imports are diesel, kerosene and gasoline. Due to the high energy demand in the country the dependence on petroleum imports is increasing. In 2006, Nepal had to spend 53 % of its foreign currency for importing petroleum products which is almost double than 2001. More than 62 % of the petroleum products are used in the transportation sector."
Nepal vs the Unites States
The energy portfolios of Nepal and the United states are very different with regards to the types of energy they consume. The United states uses a large percentage of natural gas and also some nuclear energy. Contrarily, Nepal uses little to none of these resources. Another major difference is that the most of energy used in Nepal is from renewable sources, while the U.S. uses mainly fossil fuels. In this regard, the energy portfolio of Nepal is better. However, Nepal's biomass fuels consist of mostly wood, which is leading to an increase in deforestation. The country also depends heavily on its imported fossil fuels, which are rapidly becoming more costly. This may contribute to an unstable financial system.
Therefore, it is my opinion that the United States' energy portfolio is superior in that it is conducive to a solid economy.
Comparison of Imported and Domestic energy sources
* Percentages are approximate