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The Clean Cooking Explorer platform for Nepal

Energy for cooking is considered essential in achieving modern energy access. Despite this, almost 2.4 billion people still lack access to clean cooking, most of them living in rural areas of industrializing countries in sub-Saharan Africa, developing Asia and parts of central- and south-America. In order to mitigate the shortcomings of clean cooking solutions, traditional energy sources tend to be used which can be harmful for the people using them. This project aims at creating a spatial platform for clean cooking for Nepal in order to leverage geospatial data to represent the different resources and characteristics of the region, and support targeted development of clean cooking solutions.


IEA estimates that in developing Asia (excluding India and China), 0.6 million people die due to household air pollution caused by the use of non-modern cooking solutions yearly. Furthermore, the collection of traditional fuels tends to be either costly or time consuming and in many instances the burden of fuel collection falls on children and women. Reaching universal access to clean cooking solutions is part of SDG 7 (indicator 7.1.2 Proportion of population with primary reliance on clean fuels and technology). SDG 7 has previously been connected to a large number of the other SDGs. By reducing the rate of under the age of five mortality rate and reducing the rate of early deaths due to air pollution clean cooking can contribute to SDG3 (Health and wellbeing). By alleviating women and children from the burden of fuel collection it can contribute towards SDG5 (gender equality). Furthermore, it can contribute to SDG 13 (climate action) and SDG15 (reducing deforestation).

Nepal is a country with a population of approximately 28 million people. The country is divided into three broad geographical regions: high mountains in the north, middle mountains (Pahad) and Tarai (the southern belt of plains land). Administratively, Nepal is divided into 7 provinces, 77 districts, 6 metropolitan cities, 11 sub-metropolitan cities, 276 urban municipalities (Nagar Palika), and 460 rural municipalities.

The Clean Cooking Alliance estimates that approximately 80% of the rural population in the country rely on solid fuels for cooking and that 18,000 people die yearly due to related Household Air Pollutants stemming from the use of traditional fuels in combination with poor ventilation. Around 30% of the population rely on clean fuel options, viz. LPG, biogas, electricity for cooking. The Government of Nepal has launched an initiative to provide Clean Cooking Solution for All (CCS4ALL) and the Alternative Energy Promotion Center has together with the World Bank developed a roadmap to reach this goal. Nepal has a large potential of biogas as raw materials are abundantly available in the country. Through the Rural Energy Policy of 2006, Renewable Energy Subsidy Policy of 2016 and the Biomass Energy Strategy of 2017, the GoN has promoted the use of biogas energy technologies opening up the use for wider use of these fuels for cooking purposes. Nepal has been successful in implementing/disseminating various clean cookstoves solutions such as improved cook stoves (1.3 million-plus ICS), biogas plants (400,000), and around solar cookers (600). Nevertheless, the progress for achieving the full access to clean cooking fuels is still a daunting task.

Nepal does not have fossil reserves. Traditional biomass, imported fossil (coal and oil products), electricity are its main sources of the total primary energy supply. Renewable resources also vary across the regions/provinces. Himalayan and middle mountains have higher forest cover compared to the plain Terai region. Similarly, the forest cover of province 2 has the lowest forest (i.e. 27%) compared to province 7 (56%). Nepal has around 78% access to the national grid. It differs within the 7 provinces. For example, province 3 has around 90% electricity whereas province 6 has only 27% grid electricity access.

This background shows 1) how it is crucial to move from traditional ways of cooking energy access, and 2) how the decisions to achieve one will need to have a geospatial component to represent the different resources and characteristics by region. To achieve that, this project aims at creating a spatial platform for clean cooking in Nepal building upon on the extensive experience of the applicant group in geospatial energy access planning, clean cooking, and the Nepalese energy context.

Aim and objectives

  • Select the key technologies used for cooking in Nepal - including their key technological performances
  • Create an open database of geospatial data relevant to the comparison of cooking solutions in Nepal
  • Building up from the existing methods of the Open Source Spatial Electrification Tool (OnSSET) (KTH-dES, 2020) - a method developed at KTH - create open-source methods to geospatially collect and compare cooking alternatives
  • Create an open-source visualization platform for the results leveraging the open-source code available from WRI’s Energy Access Explorer
  • Compare geospatially the performances of different cooking solutions including costs per household and region, impacts on the local supply chain, and environmental impacts on local forest and emissions. This will include short and long-term scenario analysis for different combinations of cooking solutions for the country.
  • Support decision making process on clean cooking policies.
  • Train local stakeholders on the use of the platform.

Project partners



Nepal Open University

Funding is provided by Clean Cooking Alliance and World Resource Institute

Timeframe: 2021-2022


For further information about this project, please contact Camilo Ramirez  and Babak Khavari .

Camilo Ramirez Gomez
Camilo Ramirez Gomez
doctoral student
Babak Khavari
Babak Khavari
doctoral student
Francesco Fuso-Nerini
Francesco Fuso-Nerini
associate professor


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