Study suggests different levels of awareness about renewable energy in Indian states
Available metrics suggest that globally, close to 1.1 billion people lack access to electricity and 300 million of this deprived lot live in India, by far the highest share of any single country. Similarly, on the cooking energy side, globally, more than 2.9 billion people rely on traditional biomass for cooking. Once again, India tops the chart with close to 800 million continuing to use firewood, dung cakes, charcoal or crop residue to meet their cooking energy needs. Although these metrics are rudimentary, they suggest that India has a long way to go before addressing the energy needs of its population (CEEW-ACCESS Report, 2015).Accordingly, WWF-India and SELCO Foundation partnered to conduct a study to explore different paths for providing power to the unserved and the underserved. The study recommends to improve maintenance and repair services of renewable energy products in UP and Odisha.
In the present study by WWF-India and SELCO Foundation, field surveys of two districts each in UP(Pilibhit&LakhimpurKheri) and Odisha(Koraput&Kalahandi)were conducted in order to contribute in developing a framework that provides an understanding of the challenges and opportunities in the renewable energy(RE) sector in specific regions.
Energy Ecosystem in the Focus Regions: UP & Odisha
The survey revealed that in UP there is a high level of awareness among end users about RE solutions, but the markets are not responding well to their needs, as there is a low level of maintenance and repair services for the products. Further, the products that were available on the market were of low quality with no warranties (particularly for solar).
While in Odisha, end users and bankers have low levels of awareness about harms of firewood and utility of decentralized renewable energy (DRE), combined with low levels of maintenance and servicing of Government installed systems.Though the government provided solar home systems free, those were found to be largely defunct and people were mostly dependent on firewood based cooking.
It is apparent from the above that concentrated efforts in the direction are required from the two state governments. The government of Odisha would do well to add awareness building on renewable energy in their priority list while also see to the availability of quality products and services in the market. Uttar Pradesh government, on the other hand, would do well to fill the demand-supply gap by ensuring prompt repair and maintenance services are readily accessible as also the quality products!
The Intervention Roadmap
Based on an understanding of the gaps in the ecosystem, an intervention roadmap, specific to each of the focus regions as well as for the sector as a whole, has been articulated.
However, for many of the goals as identified in the roadmap to be realized, a strong policy and regulatory structure is essential – one that facilitates tax exemptions for renewable energy products and services; provides targets for bank financing; and supports institutionalization of DRE lending, as well as restructures the tendering process to focus on quality of services and products, rather than the “lowest bid” model. Convergence of subsidies and incentives across schemes, combined with the introduction of energy as a measure of impact within the existing tribal, forest and rural development programs, can go a long way in building the ideal structure for energy access.
For more details please refer to- http://www.selcofoundation.org/publication/view/deployment-of-decentralized-renewable-energy-solutions-an-ecosystem-approach/