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CSE proposes mini grid model to eradicate energy poverty

According to reports, a Delhi-based think tank today proposed a model to eradicate energy poverty in India and claimed that their model would ensure at least 12 hours of electricity to every household per day especially in the rural areas.

The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) advocated for a new “mini grids” or renewable based decentralised distributed generation of power model.

It said that these projects should be made bankable and investor friendly and provided with performance-based incentives to make them sustainable in the long run.

“Mini-grid or decentralised generation of power offers exciting possibilities of reducing India’s energy poverty,” said Chandra Bhushan, CSE deputy director general during a workshop on “Sustainable Mini-Grid for Energy Access”.

CSE noted that the country despite registering a growth in generation capacity at seven per cent between 2002 and 2013, consumption has grown even faster due to rapid infrastructure growth in urban and semi-urban areas.

It said that grid powers from large-scale coal-based power plants were unlikely to reach rural India to provide energy on demand.

“Renewable energy based mini-grids can be a possible solution to meet the electricity demand of vast rural population of India while simultaneously addressing climate change issues as well. Various renewable based mini-grid models have emerged in India,” CSE said.

“In order to make energy access through mini-grid a reality, we need a simple but robust model to provide reliable electricity to villagers,” programme director-renewable energy at CSE Nayanjyoti Goswami said adding that CSE divided the energy poor into two categories, grid connected rural areas and remote villages not connected to the grid.

Proposing a model to make the operation of mini-grids sustainable, CSE said since the mini grid have to co-exist with the main grid for villagers to receive reliable power on demand, in such situations, mini grids must act like a franchise to the DISCOM or the electricity distributor.

“Using reverse bidding, renewable energy based mini-grids would be set up for a cluster of villages to ensure minimum supply of 12-hours of electricity,” the Delhi-based think tank said.

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