Nepal has seen an astounding increase in its energy access rate between 2001-2021, moving from a total electrified population of 24% in 2001 to 90% in 2021. However, there are still over 3.5 million people in remote and rural areas of the country that do not have access to electricity services in their homes, schools or healthcare facilities.

In addition, only 35% of the total population in Nepal have access to clean cooking technologies or fuels. This translates to nearly 20 million people using polluting fuels, such as solid biomass in open fire pits, for cooking in their homes. This leads to indoor air pollution harming human health, emits greenhouse gases exacerbating climate change and disproportionately affects women due to their predominant contribution to household cooking activities.

To effectively expand access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy, energy planners, clean energy enterprises, investors and development organizations need data and analytical tools that capture key geospatial parameters of unserved and the underserved populations.

In November, the Nepal Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC), the Clean Cooking Alliance (CCA) and World Resources Institute (WRI) held a three-day convening focused on the recently launched Energy Access Explorer (EAE) Nepal tool. EAE is a free and open source “Digital Public Good” software — visualizing geospatial data to deliver climate-friendly and viable energy transitions for all. It enables clean energy enterprises, energy planners, donors and development-oriented institutions to identify high-priority areas where energy access can be expanded. Using spatial data to link energy supply with growing or unmet demand is essential to gaining a better picture of energy access and expanding energy services — such as access to clean cooking solutions — for those who need it the most. Furthermore, EAE reduces software engineering and data transaction costs for both data providers and users, facilitates data management and improves data governance.

Graphic showing demand, supply, filters, and analysis.
Figure 1. Energy Access Explorer data and sample analysis in Nepal. Source: Energy Access Explorer 2023. Note: Figure above shows data representing potential Demand through data on Demographics such as population density, or Social and productive use as schools, health facilities, and commercial cooking. It also integrates potential Supply data on Energy resources as Solar irradiation, or Infrastructure as distribution lines. Additionally, Filter data such as the latest household census or net-benefit results allow to identify areas of interest. Finally, the resulting analysis show priority areas through a granular multi-criteria analysis per square kilometer and a summary report.

EAE Nepal is the first version of EAE to also integrate cost-benefit analysis for clean cooking through the OnStove tool. OnStove, developed and integrated into EAE by KTH Royal Institute of Technology Sweden, determines the net-benefit value of different cooking stoves using spatial data. The tool accounts for four key benefits: reduced morbidity; mortality; emissions and time saved; as well as three costs: capital, fuel and operation and maintenance. OnStove allows users to determine the fuel-stove alternative providing the highest net benefit for a given location or community.

Spatial cost-benefit analysis.
Figure 2. OnStove – spatial cost-benefit analysis tool for clean cooking planning. Read more about OnStove here

Nawa Raj Dhakal, Executive Director of AEPC, launched EAE Nepal and the EAE Nepal Working Group. In his address, Dhakal talked about the importance of accountable data and the critical role of the cross-sectoral working group, bringing together partners from government agencies, clean energy enterprises, development organizations and finance institutions. Partners were introduced to the new functionalities of the platform, discussed the EAE sustainability plan to ensure the platform applies to the cross-sectoral stakeholder needs, and how it can support data management and governance.

Launch event.
Image credit: WRI

Stakeholders completed the comprehensive EAE training which enabled them to generate customized analysis to identify priority areas for clean cooking interventions in the country through EAE’s front-end interface. They were also trained on EAE’s user-friendly data management and governance system which empowers data providers and administrators without any programming expertise to add, store, manage, harmonize and process granular geospatial data and to assign roles and responsibilities to various data providers.

Launch event.
Image credit: WRI

EAE Nepal is a multi-partner initiative that has been developed in a collaborative manner. CCA brings leading expertise in the clean cooking space, WRI leads the technical development of EAE, AEPC is the nodal agency of EAE Nepal, KTH Royal Institute of Technology and Kartoza lead the cost benefit analysis, and Nepal Open University (NOU) support local data collection and capacity building. The consortium received input and feedback from more than 100 stakeholders.  

Moving forward, the EAE Nepal Working Group will continue to ensure that the platform applies to the cross-sectoral stakeholder’s needs in the country, and that EAE will provide stakeholders with the data and tools needed to inform and support their national and sub-national programs and strategies for a robust clean cooking transition. We will do this by equipping partners and stakeholders with this digital public good to plan for the attainment of critical development outcomes in health and livelihoods in Nepal.

Group photo.
Image credit: WRI

If you want to learn more about the EAE or schedule a demo please reach out to us at or visit Energy Access Explorer.