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The future of hydropower development in Nepal: Views from the private sector

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Private sector actors are taking on an increasingly prominent role in energy transitions, including in hydropower development and finance. Yet, there is little empirical research on the topic. This study covers private sector views on accelerating hydropower investment in Nepal, using Q methodology. Three main viewpoints were identified among 17 interviewed hydropower developers, planners, and investors based in Nepal: 1) Efforts need to be focused on reforming hydropower policies and administration at the national level; 2) Funds for hydropower development need to be increased and sought from a diversity of domestic and foreign private sources; 3) Nepal needs to integrate its energy grid with its South Asian neighbours, starting with India. Areas of strong disagreement include the role of political stability in enabling hydropower development, as well as modes of engagement with Indian, Chinese, and Western partners. Areas of consensus include the need to smoothen land acquisition procedures as well as discomfort with the state-owned Nepal Electricity Authority’s perceived monopolistic status in the sector. Overall, this study contributes to debates on private sector involvement in hydropower development with a nuanced empirical assessment of views which contain clear visions for an independent and domestically driven future of the country’s hydropower sector.



Dam finance, Energy transitions, Hydropower development, Nepal, Renewable energy, Q methodology

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Renewable Energy

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Elsevier BV
Economic and Social Research Council (ES/P011373/1)
This work was supported by the UK Research and Innovation Economic and Social Research Council [ES/P011373/1] as part of the Global Challenges Research Fund. Udisha Saklani also acknowledges funding from the Margaret Anstee Studentship at Newnham College, as well as the Philip Lake Fund II and University Fieldwork Fund Award of the University of Cambridge, UK.