Microhydro electrification and climate change adaptation in Nepal: socioeconomic lessons from the Rural Energy Development Program (REDP)

  • Olivia Gippner
  • Saroj Dhakal
  • Benjamin K. Sovacool
Original Article


This article explores the potential for microhydro installations in Nepal to improve adaptive capacity in addition to their ability to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. After explaining its methods of data collection—namely field research and research interviews—the article explores the climate change adaptation benefits of microhydro plants being promoted under the Renewable Energy Development Project (REDP). Besides displacing fossil fuels, in particular kerosene for lighting, microhydro electrification offers an effective way of improving community assets and bolstering social resilience (thereby enhancing the adaptive capacity of communities there). Our own survey of REDP project sites reveals how microhydro units have improved community income levels, equalized gender roles, enhanced access to education and information, and reduced migration patterns. The article concludes by highlighting three key lessons—the role of extensive community mobilization, proactive capacity building for efficient electricity use, and the need for comprehensiveness—for those wishing to adapt to climate change in other rural and developing economies.


Nepal Adaptive capacity Microhydro electrification 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Olivia Gippner
    • 1
  • Saroj Dhakal
    • 1
  • Benjamin K. Sovacool
    • 1
  1. 1.Vermont Law School, Institute for Energy & the EnvironmentSouth RoyaltonUSA

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