The Role of Glaciers in Hydropower Production in Nepal
Keywords:glaciers, hydropower, sustainable hydropower development, glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF), Nepal
Nepal is a mountainous country rich in water resources, with huge potential for hydropower generation. The Department of Electricity Development (DoED), which sits within the Nepalese Ministry of Energy, has published Guidelines for Study of Hydropower Projects to set out the official standards for the detailed study of hydropower projects in Nepal. The guide is regularly revised, with the latest revision having taken place in 2018, in order to ensure the long-term sustainability of the projects. Among the key issues considered are the linkages between glaciers and hydropower projects in Nepal under a changing environment. The formation of new glacial lakes and the potential for glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs) are recent challenges in the Himalayan region. As such, any change impacting these processes may have serious consequences on hydropower projects or cause severe damage to these projects across the country, whether they are in the planning phase, under construction, or completed. This paper aims to make the connection between the status of hydropower projects in Nepal and the state of glaciers in the Himalayas, and suggests that advanced studies on glacial lakes and GLOFs are needed to ensure the long-term sustainability of hydropower projects under changing climate.
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