Powering rural communities with clean energy
Rural communities play a vital role in societies around the world and distributing power to rural communities is a pressing issue for both developed and developing nations, though the challenges differ. The International Energy Agency reported in 2015 that an estimated 1.2 billion people, (or 17% of the global population), did not have access to electricity – with 80% of these people living in rural areas.
Reducing both the cost of supply and consequently the cost of electricity consumption is the end game, but looking at the wider implications can also lead to the establishment of entirely new energy markets. It is essential that utility providers look beyond resources like coal, oil and gas when looking at how to power rural communities. Equally, they must ensure there is a move away from labour intensive forms of energy, such as biofuels which rely on people gathering materials to burn and therefore restrict their ability to contribute in other ways to a local economy.
The World Bank’s energy team has pointed to the importance of renewable energy (particularly solar) in meeting these challenges and bridging the gap. In addition to being a low carbon form of energy, renewables can be generated near the point of use and thereby cut down on distribution infrastructure. The renewables sector is not without its own challenges however and extreme environments can compromise reliability. The challenges of powering rural communities can be met in a number of ways – whether that means creating new energy markets through investment, or adopting a decentralised energy strategy. However, it is clear that innovative thinking will become more important as time goes on to adapt to growing energy demands, increasingly aging infrastructure, more extreme weather conditions and to integrate new, reliable forms of energy to supply rural grids.
Nearly 96% villages in India are electrified but only 69% of homes have electricity connections according to a report that draws on data from six states. The data implies that a large part of India's electrification and energy access is on paper.
In Uttar Pradesh where 99% of villages are electrified, only 60% households have access to electricity. In Madhya Pradesh, 86% households have electricity, with 97% of villages electrified. In Jharkhand, 67% households have electricity access with 93% electrified.
Nearly half the households, despite an electricity connection, are classified under the lowest level of energy access due to quality, reliability and duration of supply. Uttarkhand has 15,681 villages but power supply to interior villages in the mountainous terrain is expensive and challenging due to adverse topographical features, harsh weather conditions, scattered households and low population density.
We at greenassets.in are doing everything we can to provide sustainable and clean energy to the villages and rural Uttarkhand and surrounding areas. We have just started this journey and have a long way to go. However, we urge you to look at this as a need for the country and join in this movement with us. If you feel you'd like to know more or would like to contribute do get in touch with us to discuss how you can get involoved.
We want this dream to turn into a reality and if we all stand together, it seems more than possible.
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