The impacts of climate change in mountain regions are accentuated by elevation-dependent warming and precipitation variability higher than in other regions, coupled with greater dependence of mountain communities on local sources of energy and other resources. Energy systems are central to climate change both as drivers and responses. The development and use of energy resources, particularly fossil fuels, are the principal causes of global warming. At the same time, climate-change impacts across a range of social and ecological systems require mitigation and adaptation in which less carbon-intensive energy uses play a central role. Climate-change dynamics are not uniformly distributed globally, with temperature rise occurring differentially higher in polar and mountain regions. Especially in mountain regions, energy-use alternatives can be constrained due to inadequate infrastructure, remoteness, and reliance on traditional forms of energy that may be difficult to diversify.
This workshop, jointly sponsored by ICIMOD’s Himalayan University Consortium and the Mountain Research Initiative (MRI), and coordinated by the University of Arizona’s Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy, is a community-led activity bringing together experts including young professionals to connect and synthesize existing data, information, publications, and/or other forms of knowledge to provide new insights on the state of mountains and renewable energy transitions in a global context.
This virtual workshop aims to synthesize current understanding and address future challenges related to energy transitions in mountain regions with an emphasis on renewable energy in the context of climate change in the Hindu Kush Himalaya, Andes, and Alps.
Workshop participants will also address current challenges in mountain regions related to climate-change impacts on energy systems with an emphasis on renewables and transitions towards carbon neutrality as well as to present and discuss adaptation solutions by mountain communities and economic sectors.
The workshop will be limited to 50 registered participants, including 15 invited experts and 35 participants. Interested researchers, policy makers, and practitioners from the HKH countries should apply via the HUC Portal by 1 March 2021.
For applicants from Latin America and Europe, and for those who are based elsewhere but are working on relevant issues in the Andes and Alps, the deadline is 10 March 2021.
Notification of acceptance will be communicated by 16 March 2021.
Young and female professionals, those from under-represented communities, and graduate students are especially encouraged to apply.
Applications from past HUC fellows who successfully completed the Water Energy Food Nexus: Adaptive Response to Regional Hindu Kush Himalaya Challenges, 19 May – 4 June 2020 course will receive designated merit points in the selection process.
Time: 19:45–22:15 (NPT), 16:00–18:30 (CEST), 07:00–09:30 (U.S. MST)
|19:45-19:55||16:00-16:10||7:00-7:10||Welcome remarks||Pema Gyamtsho, ICIMOD
Carolina Adler, Mountain Research Initiative (MRI)
|19:55-20:15||16:10-16:30||7:10-7:30||Workshop overview, participants and regions represented||Christopher Scott, University of Arizona|
|20:15-20:30||16:30-16:45||7:30-7:45||Mountain regions and global headwaters||Daniel Viviroli, University of Zurich|
|20:30-20:45||16:45-17:00||7:45-8:00||Discussion and Q&A||Moderator: Padmendra Shrestha, University of Arizona|
|20:45-21:00||17:00-17:15||8:00-8:15||The role of hydropower in Switzerland’s energy strategy||Daniel Viviroli, University of Zurich|
|21:00-21:15||17:15-17:30||8:15-8:30||Discussion and Q&A||Moderator: Padmendra Shrestha, University of Arizona|
|21:30-21:45||17:45-18:00||8:45-9:00||Energy ecosystem for the transition towards a low carbon society in HKH region: Opportunities and Partnerships||Biraj Singh Thapa, Kathmandu University|
|21:45-21:55||18:00-18:10||9:00-9:10||Discussion and Q&A||Moderator: Sebastián Riera Yankeliovich, Universidad Nacional de Cuyo|
|21:55-22:10||18:10-18:25||9:10-9:25||Breakout group discussion, synthesis|
|22:10-22:15||18:25-18:30||9:25-9:30||Announcements for Day 2|
|19:45-20:00||16:00-16:15||7:00-7:15||Energy transition in the Mendoza, Argentina Andes: Regional insights||Sebastián Riera Yankeliovich, Universidad Nacional de Cuyo|
|20:00-20:15||16:15-16:30||7:15-7:30||Discussion and Q&A||Fabian Drenkhan, Imperial College London|
|20:15-20:30||16:30-16:45||7:30-7:45||Governance of complex trade-offs between mitigation and adaptation in the Swiss Alps||Elke Kellner, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL|
|20:30-20:45||16:45-17:00||7:45-8:00||Discussion and Q&A||Moderator: Sarala Khaling, ATREE|
|20:45-21:00||17:00-17:15||8:00-8:15||The journey to renewable Energy: Narratives from Bhutan and HKH||Medha Bisht, South Asian University|
|21:00-21:15||17:15-17:30||8:15-8:30||Discussion and Q&A||Moderator: Elke Kellner, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL|
|21:30-21:45||17:45-18:00||8:45-9:00||Water resource conflicts and hydropower in the tropical Andes: Governance and feasibility of multi-purpose projects||Fabian Drenkhan, Imperial College London|
|21:45-21:55||18:00-18:10||9:00-9:10||Discussion and Q&A||Moderator: Padmendra Shrestha, University of Arizona|
|21:55-22:10||18:10-18:25||9:10-9:25||Breakout group discussion, synthesis|
|22:10-22:15||18:25-18:30||9:25-9:30||Announcements for Day 3|
|19:45-20:00||16:00-16:15||7:00-7:15||Hydropower in the HKH: Threats and Opportunities in the Face of Climate Change||Kasvi Singh, TERI School of Advanced Studies|
|20:00-20:15||16:15-16:30||7:15-7:30||Discussion and Q&A||Moderator: Sebastián Vicuña, Pontificia Universidad, Católica de Chile|
|20:15-20:30||16:30-16:45||7:30-7:45||Challenges and opportunities of hydropower in the Chilean Andes in a climate change world||Sebastián Vicuña, Pontificia Universidad, Católica de Chile|
|20:30-20:45||16:45-17:00||7:45-8:00||Discussion and Q&A||Moderator: Biraj Singh Thapa, Kathmandu University|
|20:45-21:00||17:00-17:15||8:00-8:15||Himalayan floods raise questions on the sustainability of hydropower||Padmendra Shrestha, University of Arizona|
|21:00-21:15||17:15-17:30||8:15-8:30||Discussion and Q&A||Moderator: Daniel Viviroli, University of Zurich|
|21:30-21:45||17:45-18:00||8:45-9:00||Workshop synthesis||Christopher Scott, University of Arizona|
|21:45-22:10||18:00-18:25||9:00-9:25||Plenary session: pathways of workshop proceedings|
|22:10-22:15||18:25-18:30||9:25-9:30||Closing remarks||Chi Huyen Truong (Shachi), ICIMOD|
Biraj Singh Thapa
Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Kathmandu University
Executive Director, Mountain Research Initiative (MRI)
Chi Huyen Truong (Shachi)
Program coordinator, Himalayan University Consortium (HUC)
Director, Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy and Professor, School of Geography and Development, University of Arizona
Research group leader, Mountain Hydrology in Hydrology & Climate unit, Department of Geography, University of Zurich
Postdoctoral researcher, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL
RAHU Project, Imperial College London
Master’s student, Economics (specializing in Environmental and Resource Economics), TERI School of Advanced Studies
Senior Assistant Professor, Department of International Relations, South Asian University
PhD student, School of Geography, Development & Environment, University of Arizona
Regional Director, Eastern Himalaya/Northeast India, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology & the Environment (ATREE), India
Sebastián Riera Yankeliovich
Postdoctoral researcher AACREA-CONICET, Universidad Nacional de Cuyo
Director, Centro de Cambio Global, Associate Professor, School of Engineering, Pontificia Universidad, Católica de Chile
The workshops served to highlight lessons learned and ways forward, drawing on multiple perspectives of researchers, practitioners, agencies and NGOs in an effort to bridge the experiences and challenges of critical mountain regions globally.
Challenges include: supply diversification including carbon neutrality and beyond; demand management (including consumptive and productive energy uses and associated equity concerns); energy justice with equity in access and inclusive decision-making; climate resilience for carbon mitigation with transformative adaptation.
Hydropower in an energy system uniquely identified with mountain. How is this understood in transition terms (as bridge energy to low-impact renewables, or low/zero-carbon alternative to fossil fuels, or both, or other)? The scale of hydropower (and siting on smaller streams within a basin-wide perspective) vs. long-term feasibility of HP plants is critically important. Hydropower should not be thought of just as government projects but needs to include local control and ownership. The planning stage of hydropower development must move toward implementation, with special attention to operations and maintenance, rural power supply, environmental protection, relocation/resettlement with social equity and rural revitalization.
Governance of energy transitions involves, among other factors, decision-making, decentralization, risk impact and assessment. Overcoming energy poverty will require expanded access, localization, and community-centered development with emphasis on sustainable livelihoods and sustainable development frameworks.