Statement delivered by UNDP Deputy Country Director Mr. Jorn Sorensen at the Energy for All Investor Forum

08 Feb 2013

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Mr. Chair – Secretary Keshav Bhattarai

 

His Excellency - Ambassador of Denmark Mr. Jespersen,

 

Executive Director of Alternative Energy Promotion Centre Dr. Govinda Pokharel,

 

Director of the Asian Development Bank, Mr. Gil-Hong Kim,

 

Senior Climate Change Specialist of the Asian Development Bank, Mr. Jiwan Acharya,

 

Distinguished Government officials,

 

Dear ladies and gentlemen, and colleagues.

 

 

It is my pleasure to be here today amidst business leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, bankers and policy makers in this important event.

 

As mentioned by the previous speakers, Nepal has abundant renewable energy resources - - - but until we capitalize on this remarkable treasure of Nepal and utilize the benefits of this natural resource - - – it will have no real value in economic terms.

 

While energy enables economic growth, and is central to sustainable development and poverty reduction efforts, it is also imperative for effectively promoting social transformation.

 

Only by expanding the network and enabling more Nepali’s to gain access to Energy, will we effectively reach the most marginalized and the most poverty stricken regions of Nepal, such as in the mid –and far western districts of Nepal.

 

Today, approximately 1.3 billion people are without access to electricity in the world – - - a staggering number equal to the population of China. 

 

In Nepal, almost 70 percent of the population has access to electricity, but with frequent interruptions and with 12 hours of load shedding for most consumers, there is therefore an urgent need to work collectively to improve the situation - - and help create a better tomorrow for the Nepali people.

 

Today, we are faced with a rural - urban divide where some plus 90 percent of people in urban areas have access to electricity, but with only 63% of rural people receiving electricity.

 

Today, around 12% of the Nepali population has access to electricity through renewable energy sources, mainly micro hydro and solar home systems.  

 

These gaps in energy supply no doubt represent an enormous market opportunity for power development companies nationally and globally. 

 

 

United Nations Development Programme has been supporting the Government of Nepal since 1996 in promoting renewable energy technology.

 

Our support mainly remains in providing energy access to rural households which are not yet under grid connection, as a means for end users to upgrade their living standards.

 

UNDP is proud of its collaboration with AEPC, and in having been able to connect more than 77,000 households with energy services until date.

 

UNDP is fully behind - and are supporting the Government to implement the National Renewable and Rural Energy Programme for the next 5 years.

 

In addition to our ongoing support in the renewable energy sector, I’m excited to share with you a new initiative led by the UN Secretary-General called “Sustainable Energy for All (SE4 ALL)”.

 

We believe this initiative comes at the right time, bringing all the right global actors to the table, and that Nepal will be able to benefit from increased international support.

 

This initiative has real traction from heads of state, Corporate CEOs and NGOs all over the world.

 

Here in Nepal, it’s an opportunity to bring together other initiatives such as Energy+ and Energy for All; as well as bringing together all partners to agree on a common framework of action and making systematic efforts to achieve the SE4ALL goals.

 

SE4 ALL addresses three fundamental needs: 

To spur economic growth;

To expand opportunity to those who don’t have access to electricity; and

To move toward more efficient, lower-carbon sustainable energy options.

 

In fact, it could be the biggest opportunity for real change on the ground – - a real opportunity for change that drives growth, improves livelihood, and protects the environment.

In Nepal, the National Planning Commission is leading this initiative and UNDP is providing support, as required.

 

The world spends more than $1 trillion per year in energy investments. 

The transition to sustainable energy may be the biggest business opportunity of the 21st century, hence it is very important that all concerned connect – meaning, government, private sector and civil society to work towards making sustainable energy for all a reality.

 

On the other hand, investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy is Win Win strategy for climate change. 

It reduces emissions with multiple benefits – improved productivity and health, stable energy prices, and also helps to achieve the MDG goals.

 

Many actors around the world are already heading down this development path. We at UNDP, believe, it now also is time for Nepal to connect and move towards sustainable energy, utilizing its existing resources.

 

Energy efficiency is a smart business case in a resource-constrained global economy. UNDP is looking to support people who can make real change happen and this forum seems to be right place to support such an initiative. 

 

UNDP’s role towards making this initiative a reality lies really in its ability to convene - we can help bring the parties to the table and help create a suitable environment for investment, building on the UNs global experiences. 

 

Many potential opportunities in this sector are still unexplored. For example - who would have predicted that the global growth in use of mobile phones would create billionaires in Africa? 

 

Energy should be a priority agenda item for every country.  That’s why it is important to have all of you on board. 

 

Hopefully this forum will be able to come up with ideas and partnerships in developing a business plan to attract investors in this sector which would benefit all – the Government, the people and the investors.   

 

Lastly, I would like to thank the organizers especially ADB and AEPC for organizing this event and for inviting UNDP to this forum. I wish this workshop a grand success.