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Halting hydro: a review of the socio-technical barriers to hydroelectric power plants in Nepal

Sovacool, Benjamin K., Dhakal, Saroj, Gippner, Olivia and Bambawale, Malavika Jain (2011) Halting hydro: a review of the socio-technical barriers to hydroelectric power plants in Nepal. Energy, 36 (5). pp. 3468-3476. ISSN 0360-5442

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Identification Number: 10.1016/


Nepal has 83,000 MW (megawatts) of exploitable hydropower resources. Yet the country has tapped less than 650 MW of this potential and hydroelectricity meets less than 1% of total national energy consumption. This article explores why. Using a mixed methods approach consisting of semi-structured research interviews, site visits, and a literature review, it explores the various factors impeding the use of small-scale and medium-sized hydroelectric power stations in Nepal. It begins by laying out the research methods for the study along with a concept known as the social science systems approach, or socio-technical systems theory. This theory supposes that the barriers to any technology from reaching commercialization are simultaneously social, consisting of values, attitudes, regulations, and price signals, as well as technical. The study then evaluates a “seamless web” of these types of barriers facing hydropower systems in Nepal. It concludes by offering lessons for policymakers and scholars concerned about Nepal as well as energy policy more generally.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2011 Elsevier Ltd
Divisions: IGA: LSE IDEAS
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date Deposited: 09 Jun 2015 15:45
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 01:55

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