Household transitions to clean energy from traditional biomass in Nepal: Challenges and opportunities


  • Sunil Malla Independent Researcher



Clean energy transitions, Biomass, Electricity, Nepal, Households


In recent years, the Nepal government has recognized and prioritized several clean energy initiatives in its national plans and policies. Despite this, more than two-thirds of households still rely on traditional biomass, as their primary source of energy, for cooking and heating, making the household fuelwood consumption per person in Nepal among the highest in the world. However, why households’ transitions to clean energy for cooking is slow has been poorly understood. Using energy-specific information from the World Bank’s Multi-Tier Framework (MTF) survey and the Nepal government’s Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS), the cooking and heating energy consumption situation of households across the provinces by rural and urban areas is analyzed briefly. Also, a simple levelized cost of cooking is estimated using different fuel-technology combinations. The main findings of this paper are: limited availability, unreliable supply and high costs are hindering households’ transitions to clean energy from traditional biomass; the combination of fuelwood, liquified petroleum gas and other clean energy sources (multiple fuel stacking) are common within the same household; and, the use of biogas, and to some extent, solar power, for cooking is limited to scale and geographical location. It is expected that electricity will be the most economic and common primary clean cooking energy option for households in the future provided that the government has the policy to address the reliability concerns of electricity and that it is affordable for lowincome households.

Author Biography

Sunil Malla, Independent Researcher

Sunil Malla is an independent research consultant. Sunil is also currently working as a shortterm consultant for the World Bank. Before becoming an independent consultant, he worked as a senior researcher and faculty (adjunct) at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Thailand. He has also worked as a researcher and a consultant for United Nations Environment Programme and Asian Development Bank. His multidisciplinary research focuses on modeling, management, and policy options in innovative sustainable energy development, energy markets, energy efficiency, air pollution, and access to clean energy cooking with special emphasis on developing countries. He received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Hawai’i – Manoa (USA), M.E. in energy technology from AIT (Thailand), and B.E. in electrical engineering from the National Institute of Technology – Rourkela (India)


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How to Cite

Malla, S. (2021). Household transitions to clean energy from traditional biomass in Nepal: Challenges and opportunities. Nepal Public Policy Review, 1, 48–67.



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