Combating energy poverty and socio-economic deprivation through renewable energy solutions

The majority of rural households meet their energy requirements from traditional fuels like fuel wood, agricultural residue along with kerosene for lighting. Statistics show that nearly 21% villages and 50% rural households are not yet electrified from the grid. The energy scarcity in India has serious implications both for the environment and the users.

Non-availability of appropriate quantity and quality of energy at a reasonable price has been hindrance to fast economic growth and better quality of life of rural communities. Over the years it has been found that a large number of people are not in a position to avail clean energy. There is a large gap between the potential of clean energy availability and actual use of different energies such as biogas, biomass, solar, wind and micro-hydro. As far as rural electricity is concerned, it is characterized by low access, reliability, quality, availability and affordability.

The energy system chosen for the rural area is often economically inefficient, not demand driven, inequitable, not empowering and sustainable. The purpose of this renewable energy project is to ensure energy security through available energy resources, improve quality of life and undertake value added economic activities through better access to high quality energy in a given rural context.

With an objective to "combat energy poverty and socio-economic deprivation by effective use of renewable energy sources" Agragamee along with Karl Kubel Stiftung, Germany intiated 3 renewable energy projects:

  • 1 KiloWatt solar photo-voltaic plant at Ushabali village
  • 15 KiloWatt micro hydel power project at Keskeri & 10 KiloWatt microhydel power plant at Peepalpadar
  • 15 KiloWatt gasifier at Kodkitunda villageNearly 109 households from the 3 villages benefit from the application of these renewable energy sources on a sustainable basis. After electricity generation the villages have had the following advantages:
  • Assured water supply to their fields
  • Non-formal education for children in evening hours
  • Increase in incomes from activities pursued in extra hours of light, like stitching leaf plates
  • Establishment of rice and flour mills
  • Stopped usage of fossil fuels for lighting purposes

In each of these villages, village energy management committee was formed through village meeting. The responsibilities of village energy management committee is to define connection charges and tariff schemes and handle all the administrative tasks as collection of fees and repayment of loan. Additionally, Agragamee in association with Raghuraj and Vimal Foundation, New Delhi has supplies over 500 solar lights to at a subsidised rate to women from tribal families in select Gram Panchayats of Kalahandi, Rayagada and Koraput districts.