Hydropower industry and financiers to bring international best practices on sustainability to Nepal

The Bankers’ Association and the Independent Power Producers’ Assocation (IPPAN) made a public declaration to jointly promote environmental and social standards for the industry. This is an important step to raise the Environmental and Social (E&S) awareness and practices that are applied to the development of projects on a sector-wide scale.
Over the next 10 years, has ambitions to realize 15,000 MW of projects. Most of this new clean energy is intended for export to ’s neighboring countries India and Bangladesh, and so presents a potentially long term, stable source of income for the country.
Together with 15,000 MW worth of hydro projects, large investments will need to be made in the (cross-border) transmission system of Nepal to export energy to the load centers. Estimated costs for these plans vary between USD 30 and 40 billion. Nepal will largely rely on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to cover these costs. FDI however demands Nepal’s and banking sector to implement best industry practices with regard to E&S standards.
“To reach Nepal’s ‘15,000 MW in 2030’ goal, it is very important to prepare the sector for international requirements and align on best practices in E&S standards. By bringing together the Banker’s Association and IPPAN for the signing of this declaration we intend to support the creation of a level-playing field for all actors in the hydropower sector,” says Linda Broekhuizen, Chief Investment Officer at FMO.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, also supports the industry-wide approach to the implementation of good practices. On a policy level, IFC already developed new E&S Risk Management guidelines for the financial sector, and supported the development of new Guidelines for Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA).
Next to the ESG declaration signing, the Power Summit in Nepal provided the opportunity for FMO to organize a workshop for midlevel banking and hydropower staff to learn about the practicalities of E&S in hydropower: e.g. ecological implications and cumulative impacts, health and safety challenges, consultation and livelihood issues. Additionally, a roundtable with CEOs of the Nepalese banks, the Central Bank and hydropower developers was hosted to discuss the merits of having best and international industry practices implemented in Nepal’s hydropower sector.
“The Environment & Social workshop and CEO Roundtable organized by FMO along the Nepal Power Summit 2019 was extremely contextual and productive for Hydropower sector. With large number of under construction hydropower projects and ambitious target of 15,000 MW in next 10 years, Nepalese private sector looks forward to such initiatives to develop sound Environment and Social capacity to deliver sustainable projects for cleaner south Asian region,” says Ashish Garg, General Secretary of Independent Power Producers Association Nepal ( IPPAN).
Linda Broekhuizen: “We will continue to assist all the stakeholders in Nepal’s hydropower sector with Capacity Development, training and knowledge exchange and, where possible, we will facilitate joint financings between local banks and FMO for Nepal’s hydropower projects.”