Renewable Energy for Rural Livelihood (RERL)

What is the project about

RERL extends rural communities’ access to renewable sources of clean energy by helping them install and manage micro-hydro plants and other sources of energy to develop associated enterprises.

Despite the great increase over the past two decades in the number of households with access to electricity, about 30% of Nepal’s total population still lacks access (as of 2011). Population without access to electricity in rural areas is 30 times more than in urban areas. Alongside this, about 85% of total energy consumed in Nepal comes from traditional biomass such as fuelwood, agricultural residue and cattle dung. This continued reliance on traditional resources depletes the forests of trees and farms of natural fertilisers. Even in urban areas, people have to face load shedding for up to 14 hours a day. On the other hand, there is a rapid growth in consumption of fossil fuel in transportation, industrial, commercial and domestic sectors draining hard earned foreign currency and causing huge trade deficits. The lack of national energy generation capacity and the importance of conserving the environment and balancing the trade regime are the reasons Nepal’s government gives priority to provide decentralized clean and renewable sources of energy to rural areas.

Between 1996 and March 2011, the Rural Energy Development Programme (REDP) enabled more than 57,000 households to light their homes, cook their food and power their enterprises from sources of clean energy. This happened in the course of REDP developing a successful community-managed model for extending access to electricity in Nepal’s rural areas.

The RERL programme is a transition programme before the full-fledged GEF UNDP funded RERL programme is finalized and brought into implementation in 2014 for the next 5 years. The full-fledged programme plans to link with the Government of Nepal’s harmonized National Rural and Renewable Energy Programme which started from mid-2012. The current RERL programme targets to complete the joint commitments of the Government's Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC) and the World Bank for achieving the targets of 4.25 MW electricity generation through implementation of Micro Hydro Village Electricity Projects. The programme further supports AEPC to consolidate the best experiences/practices of REDP.

What have we accomplished so far

The major accomplishments of the project so far are:

  • Completion of 423 MicroHydropower plants with total capacity of 8.8 MW, connecting over 89,000 households.
  • Support to Alternate Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC) and District Development Committees to operationalize District Energy and Environment Units/Sections in all districts
  • Micro-Hydro Installation Training for private companies,
  • Preparation of Manual for Micro Hydro Managers’ Training
  • Development of Resource Material and Training Manual for Mainstreaming Vulnerable Communities for Community Mobilizers
  • Establishmentof Nepal’s first Mini Grid synchronizing 6 micro hydropower plants.
  • Installationof 2 biomass Gasifiers in Sarlahi
  • Installation of 5 Micro Hydro Operated Lift Irrigation Systems
  • Update of Community Mobilization Guidelines 
  • Training on Cooperative Management for Khimti Rural Electric Cooperative (KREC)
  • Support to livelihood improvement activities of the communities by providing technical and financial assistance to install and operate 627 electricity based enterprises

Who finances it?

Amount contributed
UNDP $13.4 m
The World Bank $21.5 m
Total budget (since 1996) $34.9 million

Delivery in previous fiscal year




Project Overview
Project start date:
April 2011 to March 2014
Geographic coverage:
31 districts of Nepal
Focus Area:
Environment and Energy
Implemented by:
The Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC) of the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology
Cost Sharing Organisations:
AEPC, The World Bank, District Development Committees (DDCs), Village Development Committees (VDCs) and communities
UNDP focal point:
Anupa Rimal Lamichhane
Climate Change Programme Analyst
UNDP, UN House, POB 107
Kathmandu, Nepal
Tel: 00-977-1-5523200
Fax: 00-977-1-5523991
Project focal point:
Satish Gautam
Programme Manager
Tel: 00-977-1-5547609

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