Decentralization Needed for Rural Electrification

Greenpeace, in collaboration with the Planning Commission and the Ministry of Power, recently organized a national consultation on Rural power needs in India. The overwhelming consensus derived from the consultation was that a central grid system would not be effective in meeting all of rural India’s energy needs; rather, there is a need for a decentralized system of renewable energy generation.

“The centralised grid based approach of RGGVY has not been able to meet people’s aspirations. Rural areas have always been neglected in this energy hierarchy. Decentralised renewable energy can break this hierarchy and provide quick, reliable and sustainable power to people. The planning commission should consider and include it in the scheme,” said Divya Raghunandan, Campaigns Director, Greenpeace India.

This shift to decentralisation was echoed by Deepak Gupta, Secretary, Ministry of new and renewable energy, recently at the global energy forum at Vienna, Austria. He highlighted the need for a fundamental rethink in India’s approach to rural electrification, and the failure of the currently prevalent grid extension approach towards fulfilling the mandate of electricity for all. He emphasized on decentralised distributed generation models (DDG) operated at the local level which rely on renewable energy sources and technologies as the way forward to deliver on energy access. This would deliver faster on access while reducing costs around centralised grid extension (2).

Read more: Decentralised renewable energy holds the key to rural electrification

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