| 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.
|Aditya Ramji: On
Policy & Implementation of off-grid and renewable
Aditya Ramji of Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW): While the Power Ministry is focused on large projects, renewable energy is governed by the Renewable Energy Ministry, which is not allocated as much resources or mandate that is needed to make it the focal point of new energy. Furthermore, decentralized solutions are completely absent from policy and planning. There is need for innovative solutions like the one announced by the Railway Minister to set up micro-grid in their remote stations, where the roof tops and land is available, which provide power to the station as well as supply to the nearly villages.
The off-grid sector has been promoted by supplying solar lanterns, setting up home systems or micro grids. But RE products lack standardisation and regulation. There is a very limited data on RE installations in the country and hence, huge allocations are made without any reliable and proper information base.
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.
Ramapati, from CEED, speaks about Dharnai – the solar village . See Video: The Road to Dharnai: From Advocacy to the Field It all started with the Greenpeace report Hiding Behind the Poor, Part II’ c– which highlighted Climate politics, and the energy inequity in the country.
Video of Ramapati : Making Dharnai work: Greenpeace inspired solar micro grid
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.
Dharnai Micro agripumps (video)The solar pumps were to generate seven lakh rupees per year. But since the Village Electricity Committee (VEC) did not agree, and organisers were committed to peoples control, the pumps were given to other users, but the revenues return to the VEC. The other hiccup was delay in putting up net-meters..
Visit to Solar Village: Dharnai 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. Learnings from Dharnai: Ramapati of CEED reflects on the issues While CEED and Greenpeace certainly wanted to see a model that could be replicated across Bihar and more, the task has to be taken up by the government and maybe social entrepreneurs and NGOs.Post Dharnai, Bihar govt has announced 150 such mini-grids (with World Bank).
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).