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‘Mini-grids can provide power to remote areas in State’
Sakal Times | Monday, 23 June 2014 AT 11:44 PM IST
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Pune: Experts stressed on the need for mini-grids to provide power supply to the most remot areas in the State which are deprived of power supply, during a discussion organised by New Delhi based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).

The experts noted that 3.5 million households in Maharashtra rely on kerosene for lighting.

The panelists at the workshop on 'Sustainable Mini-Grid for Energy Access' emphasised on the possibility that mini-grids can be a viable source of power for India’s energy poor.  

Sixteen per cent of the population of the State has still no access to electricity. Experts stated that about 30,000-50,000 villages in the State are off-grid.

Ashwin Gambhir of Prayas Energy Group said that reliable and quick power access should be the focus. He lamented that the State government does not have clear statistics or map about how many villages are off the grid, yet. There are some villages which are getting benefits from several projects, ensuring power supply at the same time. Anshuman Lath of Gram Urja Private Limited, which has been working with villages for power supply, said that villagers are ready to pay if quality supply round the clock is ensured.

CSE recommended making decentralised distributed generation or mini-grid projects bankable and investor friendly. CSE emphasised on the need to scale up mini-grids development in the country.

“In order to make energy access through mini-grid a reality, we need a simple but robust model to provide reliable electricity for most of the time to villagers,” said Nayanjyoti Goswami, Programme Director, Renewable Energy at CSE. Renewable energy based mini-grids can be a possible solution, he felt. CSE also proposed a business model to make the operation of mini grids sustainable.


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