Private sector initiatives turn India on to renewable energy

small_e_blizz.gifWith nearly half of its one billion citizens without a secure electricity supply, India faces many difficult social and environmental challenges as its economy develops in the new century. Currently over 40,000 villages and communities lack access to the national grid, suffering poor health, pollution, and poverty as a result.

Innovative local renewable energy solutions are being developed across the country, and interestingly, many of them are coming not from government, but from innovative local businesses.

In fact, the government’s energy programmes have so far failed to reach India’s most needy communities, some of whom pay five times as much city-dwellers for power generated from dirty fuels like kerosene and diesel.

According to A. M. Devendranath of Feedback Consulting, India Feedback, the private sector, which has played a vital role in developing sectors like IT and telecommunications in the past, will be instrumental in supplying green energy to remote communities in the future.

Entrepreneurs are already coming up with new ways to supply electricity, he says.

Devendranath cites a recent project in the state of Bihar as a great example of locally developed green energy initiative. There, many young entrepreneurs are coming with innovative business models to reach offgrid areas to supply Electricity through Renewable Energy; for e.g. A young team of Engineers educated in the West have set up 23 husk based distributed power plants supplying power to nearly 50+ villages in the last 2 years and plans to scale up to 200 villages by the next year.

There are many private entrepreneurs who are willing to come forward and work in this space but it requires some simple initiatives from the government to make their effort worthwhile,” says Devendranath. “To start with, allocate five percent of loans as mandatory to renewable energy, and do away with taxes related to renewable energy manufacturing and sales.”

Entrepreneurial solutions tailored to local needs and conditions will see more and more of India’s poorest communities enjoying a regular power supply, with the improved quality of life and increased employment opportunities that that brings.

Read the study on solar street lights industry in India on the GVEP International site (login required).

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