| Energy/Electricity -
getting into the theme |>
Even though traditional energy still addresses bulk of the needs of poor people, and alternatives need to be explored, this session is concentrating on Electricity as the mainstream is getting into renewables in a big way, and critical issues like decentralisation, democratisation and even adverse long term environmental and technological impact need to be highlighted.
Energy Democracy: A Vision Statement adopted at
Bijli Vikalp Sangam at Bodh Gaya, Bihar, March
2016 read by Lalita Ramdas |>|
Representatives from SELCO Foundation, Badlav Foundation, WWF, LEDEG, BASIX, Barefoot College, Ekta Parishad, Switch On and Tara Urja foundation shared their experiences in break out sessions. The outcomes and debates were shared.
Group Discussions : Gr I |V>| : In Group I, Pravin Singh asked if we have considered all the downsides of the new push for solar power.. Will it be like the Green Revolution, which after implementation showed it ugly head
Group Discussions: Gr II |V>|
Discussions in Group III |V>|
Outcome at Gr 4 |V>|
Gr 5 |V>|
|Ashok Srinivas of Prayas |>| India has a capacity of 270 GW: 65% coal based and 20% large dams, 15% modern renewable. 95% of electricity delivered in India is unreliable. Power generation has been the major contributor of the current public bank debts.||
Where is the demand for change going to come from? |>
The larger paradigmatic change will have to come from peoples movement. However there are space in the current regulatory framework for a degree of citizen's involvement, and specialised civil society group. There is also need for some smart messaging.
|Energiewende: The German Experience|
Post lunch Ramapati, from CEED, shared a
presentation on Dharnai – the solar village. The origins of
the experiment lay in the Greenpeace report ‘Hiding Behind the Poor, Part II’ – which highlighted the energy inequity in the
country. The 2010 Bihar state election was a good time to
highlight the report findings, since Bihar had 19,000
villages that were not electrified at the time. Greenpeace
ran a successful election manifesto campaign to get RE on
the political agenda of all the political parties. The new
Bihar government released an RE policy in 2011. Greenpeace
continued to work with the government and provided a
roadmap, which required 76,000 crore investment. They could
get Asian Development Bank and World Bank on board in this
roadmap process. Chief Minister of Bihar, Nitish Kumar,
offered that while the report looked great on paper, if
Greenpeace could electrify one village and present it as
working model, Bihar government would take it as an example
for the rest of the state. The estimated cost was 4.5 crore
per village. The project had to be a 24X7, community run
community owned, community run, pilot project.
Dharnai, was chosen due to some of its interesting characteristics. It is not far from Patna and Gaya; had had electricity 30 years back, but then became de-electrified though its neighbouring villages had electricity. It was a reasonably ‘developed’ village, off a highway and had a railway station near the village. The model assumed that as demand would rise, the project should generate money for expansion, under the management of a village committee. Dharnai has 420 households spread across three hamlets; good social infrastructure – three to four schools, model anganwadi etc. A 100 KW (70kW for lighting in 5 clusters, and 30 kW for agriculture pumps) solar micro-grid was planned.
The project was launched in July 2014, and the process of competitive bidding was employed. Evolved packages based on equity considerations (lower tariffs for the poor), with cross subsidisation based on agriculture. The realisation of unreliability of grid electricity, made villagers hopeful about solar. The village had 10 TVs and 100 fans. However, post the solar installation it shot up to 30 TVs and 300 fans in one month.
The objective of the Dharnai experiment was to challenge the centralised model of electricity generation. In addition, seven lakh INR per year was to be generated from agriculture pumps (electricity offered at half the rate of diesel pumps). However, the VEC did not agree. According to Ramapati, community ownership and decisions making has to be accompanied with capacity building, otherwise it might backfire. Consequently, they looked for agricultural pump users in other villages – as that revenue was critical for the project to function. They have only been able to install eight agriculture pumps so far (project planned for, and needs 10).
‘Integrated Energy Pathways’ by Shankar Sharma, Power Policy Analyst.
Mr.Sharma raised key question about ecosystem services and how we can meet legitimate energy demand.
India’s energy requirement is not legitimate. Ninety five percent of energy requirement has to be imported and we have worst power transmission and distribution in the world.
This suggests that we can be at the surplus and our first priority should be to make existing system on par with international transmission systems. The three conventional technologies, thermal, hydel, and nuclear are not sustainable and have miserably failed and so this pushes us to think about the alternatives. Renewable is an efficient alternative but the question is how much of renewable energy? The priority should be to reduce our demand and change our behaviour patterns. There is also huge potential in motional energy that is not yet explored and we need appropriate infrastructure to develop other forms of renewable energy rather than just relying on solar. We need to take into account social and environmental implications
and cost- benefit analysis as well as optional analysis for all energy. Public hearing and consultation on all issues and with immediate effect should draft a policy document as large that it can be used as a model for the country. The overall message was a need of complete paradigm shift from current GDP centred model of development.
For the above, we need to have deep and radical structural changes, as household energy is a small fraction; cement and iron industries are energy guzzlers. Envisioning for energy has to come from various sectors. People’s movement have had access to resistance but not alternatives and so the process of Vikalp Sangam is to bring both these players together with the aim to search for alternative scenarios in each sector.