Decentralised renewable energy projects in India

Taking Charge is a selection of case studies of small-scale, decentralised renewable energy systems in India in 2010. The strength of these stories lies in their diversity. One is a diversity of the context in which they are based, including the geography of the place, and its social fabric. From semi-nomadic pastoral tribes in the Himalaya, to caste- based politics in the deserts of Rajasthan, to church-lead community action in the hills of Kerala, renewable energy is seen being applied to the problem of energy access in a variety of contexts. Another is the diversity of solutions applied. Each of these renewable energy projects has worked because they are tailored to fit the local needs and conditions. In Bihar, a company is providing electricity to over 100,000 people using the only waste product in the villages: rice husk. In New Town Kolkata, a housing project with grid-interactive photovoltaic technology has been built, ready for the next wave of urban development. Bankers are traveling to the most remote areas of Karnataka to issue loans to farmers to purchase tiny hydro systems for their homes.

Perhaps most interesting is the diversity of energy governance that these stories demonstrate, and the economic models that they have developed. In Delhi, a hospital is saving up to sixty per cent on its water heating bills from an enterprising company that has set up shop on its roof. Across Karnataka, a company is turning profit by providing solar services to people who were previously considered unbankable. In Tamil Nadu, a Panchayat is investing in wind energy to provide better public services for its citizens. And near the Andhra Pradesh border in Karnataka, an NGO, in partnership with a community organisation of 40,000 member families, has built 5,500 biogas units across 339 villages and is monitoring their usage daily. Read more

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