Clean Energy Access for Improving Livelihoods in India

Installing Solar Energy in Rural India Helps Improve Livelihoods
Credit: NRDC

Co-authored with Madhura Joshi, Lead Energy Access and Climate Policy Consultant NRDC

NRDC is partnering with the Clean Energy Access Network (CLEAN) for the India Energy for All Summit (IEAS) in New Delhi this week. The Summit brings together stakeholders to identify strategies for expanding Decentralized Renewable Energy (DRE) in India and help achieve the country’s goals of providing reliable clean energy access to all its people.  

India has made huge strides in improving electricity connections to households since 2000. However, the use of energy services remains limited. According to a 2019 study, average electricity demand for rural households in Odisha, UP, Bihar, and Rajasthan is only 39 kWh per month—which is about half the national average. Electricity demand for rural enterprises is also low. Some of the reasons for low demand are low appliance penetration; gaps in reliability and adequacy of supply; and affordability.

DRE solutions can help bridge these gaps, improve quality and efficiency of delivery, and boost rural electricity demand while creating jobs. Demonstrated case-studies highlighted by CLEAN show that DRE appliances can help improve use of energy services and rural livelihoods with the right framework.

With our partner the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), we are developing and implementing pilot clean energy plans in two villages – Beraniya, in Dungarpur district, Rajasthan, and Naganomath, in Arvalli district, Gujarat – with the aim to have scalable frameworks for other areas. The clean energy plans will bring together government programs, green village innovations, clean energy appliances, and financial solutions. At the same time, a deeper engagement with all stakeholders is required to design solutions which suit the local conditions and meet the needs of the households.

At the India Energy Access Summit, NRDC, SEWA, and CLEAN announced a new workshop for clean energy for livelihoods to be held in April in Ahmedabad. The workshop will focus on technical, financial, market and skill development, and policy linkages to enable the implementation of Decentralized Renewable Energy (DRE) based livelihood solutions.

New Workshop Announced at the India Energy for All Summit

The outcomes of the NRDC-SEWA-CLEAN workshop will feed into the implementation and scale-up of the village energy plans. The workshop will bring together communities, DRE companies, financial institutions, and policymakers. The sessions are designed to highlight technically suitable and affordable DRE solutions to meet community needs, identify the market penetration of these technologies, and find policy levers which can help in implementing these solutions. In addition, the deliberations will also focus on the skill development, training requirements, and the role of women to enhance the use of clean energy for traditional livelihoods. Lastly, the workshop will deep-dive into financial solutions which can help in growing the decentralized clean energy market.

Detailed agenda of the India Energy Access Summit is available here. We look forward to collaborating and working with all stakeholders in ushering India’s clean energy transition in every part of the country.  

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