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Abstract and Figures

More than two-third of Indian population live in villages and the agriculture sector alone supports sixty percent of work force in country, but the rural-urban gap in India is widening at a alarming rate due to strategic failures on account of Indian policy makers and the benefits of economic development have not reached to majority of these people who are living in miserable conditions with no access to enough clean water, electricity, roads, hospitals and other basic facilities. The authors express their view that although energy alone can not reduce the poverty level from the rural parts, but it can still open many doors of opportunities for these people and can take away some hardships from their lives and in particular from lives of rural women.
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Umesh Chandra Sharma* and Neetu Singh
Department of Chemical Engineering
University Institute of Engineering and Technology
C S J M University, Kanpur-208024 (India)
* E-mail: / Phone number: 9454 6282 34
More than two-third of Indian population live in villages and the agriculture sector alone
supports sixty percent of work force in country, but the rural-urban gap in India is widening at a
alarming rate due to strategic failures on account of Indian policy makers and the benefits of
economic development have not reached to majority of these people who are living in miserable
conditions with no access to enough clean water, electricity, roads, hospitals and other basic
facilities. The authors express their view that although energy alone can not reduce the poverty
level from the rural parts, but it can still open many doors of opportunities for these people and
can take away some hardships from their lives and in particular from lives of rural women.
Keywords: Rural-urban gap; Energy scarcity; Income poverty; Cooking fuel; Modern energy.
Rural Urban gap in India has long been a cause of great concern for our policymakers.
If we talk on the lines of Charles Dickens’ great novel “A Tale of Two Cities”, it is now “A Tale
of Two Countries” Bharat and India within the country, where Bharat represents rural part of
the country and India represents urban country. The sharp increase in the rural urban gap after
six decades of independence is quite alarming, especially in view of the fact that our policy
makers conceived their planning as an instrument to narrow down this rural - urban gap. The
table 1 presents a comparison between rural and urban India on several accounts.
TABLE 1: Comparison between Rural and Urban India*
Rural India
Urban India
Population (March 2011)
833.087 million
377.105 million
Average years of education
4.72 years
8.42 years
Regular wage/salaried male worker
Casual male labour
Regular wage/salaried female worker
Casual female labour
Level of poverty line for daily consumption
Rs. 22.42
Rs. 28.65
Average monthly per capita expenditure (MPCE)
Rs. 1053.64
Rs. 1984.46
Per capita food expenses (% of total expenditure)
Rs. 600.00
Rs. 881.00
Average consumption of cereals/month/capita
11.3 kg
9.4 kg
Percentage share of expense on cereals
Percentage share of expense on education
Percentage share of expense on house rent
Poorest 10% of population (MPCE)
Rs. 453.00
Rs. 599.00
Top 10% of population (MPCE)
Rs. 2517.00
Rs. 5863.00
Average dietary energy intake/day/capita
2147 Kcal
2123 Kcal
Average fat intake/day/capita (gm)
Percentage of households
Average household size
Females per thousand of males
Literacy rate
71 %
84 %
53 %
74 %
Energy for cooking
Firewood and chips
76.3 %
17.5 %
11.5 %
64.5 %
Dung cakes
6.3 %
1.3 %
No arrangement for cooking
1.6 %
6.5 %
0.8 %
6.5 %
0.8 %
2.3 %
Energy for lighting
66 %
94 %
33 %
5 %
Domestic electricity consumption/year/capita
96 kWh
288 kWh
Life expectancy at birth (years)
Access to piped drinking water
Infant mortality rate per 1000 births
Improved sanitation facilities (2005-06)
* Unless stated otherwise, all data have been taken for the year 2009-10.
The share of agriculture and allied sectors in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has
come down from 19% in 2004-05 to 14% in 2011-12 mainly due to comparatively higher growth
in non-agriculture sectors, but it is still the main source of livelihood for country’s rural
population. The agriculture sector supports more than 60% of the country’s workforce which is
characterized by low income levels, poor quality of life and a weak base of human development.
The agriculture sector has shown an average growth rate of 3.3% annually in the 11th Five Year
Plan period ending March 31, 2012. The slower growth rate of agriculture sector has also serious
implications for the rural-urban relationship. It results in the further widening of the gap [1].
Energy poverty is a direct outcome of income poverty. The major share of country’s rural
population is energy poor. The unaffordability due to poverty and inaccessibility due to
inadequate infrastructure are the root causes of the lack of access to modern energy. This lack of
energy access has major implications for economic development, livelihoods, social dignity, and
environmental sustainability, while access to energy has strong links with poverty reduction
through income, health, education, gender, and the environment [2].
However, the findings by Khandker et al [3] are contrary to this common belief and
suggest that energy poverty is not necessarily equal to income poverty. Khandker et al have
found in their study on India that in rural areas some 57% of households are energy poor while
22% are income poor. But in urban areas the energy poverty rate is 28% compared to 20% that
are income poor. Although most of the researchers agree on this point that energy policies play
an important role in mitigating income poverty and reducing income poverty in rural areas
requires support not only from rural electrification, but also from modern cooking fuels such as
LPG. Table 2 gives a brief description of rural energy consumption and supply pattern.
TABLE 2: Demand and Supply of Energy in Rural Areas [4]
Energy consumption in rural areas
Households are the biggest energy
consuming sector in rural areas.
Cooking is the major end use, about 85%
of total rural energy use.
Cooking devices are inefficient,
inconvenient, and dirty.
Household lighting consumes about 2 to
10% of total rural energy use.
Energy use for household appliances
(radio, TV, etc.) is insignificant.
The agriculture sector consumes about 2
to 8% of total energy use in rural areas.
Energy is used for irrigation and
mechanical farm equipment.
Energy consumption in rural industries,
including both cottage industries and
village level enterprises, amounts to less
than 10% of total energy use in Asian
developing countries. The low level of
energy consumption is one indication of
the low level of industrial and enterprise
activities in rural areas.
Energy is used for heating and operation of
mechanical and electrical equipment.
The people in rural areas continue to use traditional biomass fuels like animal dung,
agricultural waste, fuel wood and charcoal for cooking in traditional three-stone inefficient
chulhas (stoves). The high moisture content of the biomass resources and the low efficiency of
the combustion process produce dangerous levels of smoke, particularly when cooking is done
indoors. This creates indoor smoke pollution leading to serious health damage, such as
respiratory diseases, obstetrical problems, blindness and heart disease. Particulate matter in the
Indian households burning biomass is 2000 μg/m3, which is much higher than the permissible
150 μg/m3. Table 3 below gives the number of people world over that rely on the traditional
biomass use as their primary cooking fuel.
TABLE 3: People relying on Traditional Biomass Fuel for Cooking Application (million)
- Sub-Saharan Africa
Developing Asia
- China
- India
- Other Asia
Latin America
About 1.3 million people mostly women and children die prematurely worldwide every
year because of exposure to indoor air pollution from cooking and heating with traditional,
inefficient biomass stoves (Fig. 1). Using World Health Organization figures, it is estimated that
household air pollution from the use of biomass in inefficient stoves would lead to over 1.5
million premature deaths/year (over 4000/day) in 2030, greater than estimates for premature
deaths from malaria, tuberculosis or HIV/AIDS [5].
FIGURE 1: Premature Annual Deaths from Household Air Pollution and Other Diseases
In rural parts of the country, poor people and particularly the women spend up two to
seven hours each day to the collection and processing of traditional fuels for cooking. Aside from
the cost and time, women are exposed to snake bites, threats, assault and health problems like
back pain, neck pain and fatigue from carrying heavy loads for long distances. The time that
women spend finding firewood and water for the household could be used for other productive
activities like farming and education.
Furthermore, the use of firewood and other biomasses for cooking purposes cause
ecological damages like deforestation and soil erosion and local scarcity of wood in some areas.
Plus, it draws agricultural residues and dung away from their use as fertilizer, thus reducing
agricultural productivity.
Lighting in low-income rural households is generally provided by kerosene lanterns.
Kerosene lamps produce better light, but they are uncomfortably hot in a tropical climate and
they also emit smoke. Use of kerosene also imposes health risks through fires and there is
emerging evidence of links with tuberculosis and cancer.
A misinterpretation of the term rural energy can be blamed for the current state of affairs
in the rural energy sector. ‘Rural’ is usually equated with ‘agriculture’ and ‘rural energy’ with
‘cooking and lighting’; which undoubtedly misses out the energy requirements of various other
rural facets like rural schools and rural enterprises, etc. As per District Information System for
Education (DISE), around 87% of the schools in the country are located in rural areas. As
reflected in the Economic Census 2005, "there are 42.12 million enterprises in the country
engaged in different economic activities other than crop production and plantation. Out of which,
25.81 million enterprises (61.3%) are in the rural areas and 16.31 million enterprises (38.7%) in
the urban areas." In the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) segment, around 44.52%
of the registered units and around 54.68% unregistered units are in the rural areas. Besides, there
are thousands of rural artisans like weavers who operate as Own Account Enterprises (OAEs)
mainly in the rural areas with erratic power supply.
Government’s rural electrification programs have taken the electricity network
technically within reach of more than 90% of the population, but it has failed to serve any useful
purpose mainly due to two reasons: first, the government efforts are only aimed at that rural houses
are simply connected to grid for the sake of increasing the number of households with access to
electricity, but they do not provide solutions to the basic energy needs for poverty alleviation, which
are mainly cooking and water pumping. The second problem is the high cost of electricity for already
poor rural population. The high transmission and distribution costs in rural areas make it
unattractive, especially since most people are poor and thus unable to pay for electric services. In
other cases, when subsidized grid extension does reach rural areas, the tariffs are too high for
people to pay because the existent demand is too low. In rural areas where electricity is
accessible, connectivity is often severely interrupted, resulting in high rate of burnouts of pumps,
motors and transformers.
Electricity and other modern energy sources play a critical role in economic and social
development of rural population. They alone cannot alleviate poverty but they are indispensable
to sustainable development. Modern energy services enhance the life of the poor in countless
Electric light extends the day, providing extra hours for reading and work. Switching to
electricity also eliminates health risks associated with burning kerosene and increases working
efficiency. High-quality compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) are four to five times more
efficient than incandescent bulbs and last much longer.
Modern cook-stoves save women and children from daily exposure to noxious cooking
fumes. Refrigeration extends food freshness and avoids wastage. Clinics with electricity can
sterilize instruments and safely store medicines through refrigeration. Manufacturing and service
enterprises with modern energy can be more productive and can extend the quality and range of
their products thereby creating jobs and higher wages.
It has already been discussed in the same article that grid power is technically within
reach of most of the population, but is hardly available to rural population for a number of
reasons like income poverty or interrupted supply. Therefore, in this section we try to find the
solution of energy crisis from the resources easily available in rural areas.
Energy scarcity in rural India has long been a subject of study for researchers all over the
world. Interestingly all researchers reach on same conclusion that long lasting solution to the
problem of energy scarcity in rural India lie on effective utilization of renewable energy
Decentralized energy planning (DEP) is a new concept for meeting the rural and small
scale energy needs in a reliable, affordable and environmentally sustainable way. The concept
has limited applications, but is quite effective for efficient utilization of resources. The central
theme of DEP is to follow an area-based approach to meet energy needs and development of
alternate energy sources at least-cost to the economy and environment. Hiremath et al [6] have
found in their studies that for a developing country like India biomass-based energy systems
have the potential to meet all the energy needs of a block comprising of several villages.
The current annual usage of woody biomass is estimated at about 200 MT and the
potential for additional production has been estimated at 255 MT. The quantity of cattle dung
produced in India is about 1190 MT/year and the non-fodder dry soft biomass available is
estimated to be between 300 and 600 MT/year. These resources could produce 50,000 MW of
power adequate for meeting the annual lifeline electricity consumption of 365 kWh per
household for about 480 million households and 120 billion m3 of biogas per year sufficient for
meeting the annual biogas requirement of about 320 million households at 1 m3 per household
per day of biogas [7].
Frauke Urban et al [8] have undertaken an extensive research to find most viable option
for achieving complete rural electrification in India. The different scenarios were developed for
the period 20052030 to analyze the energy supply and demand, primary energy use and costs
and the effects of rural electrification on greenhouse gas emissions. The key assumptions of the
study are displayed in Table 4 and the various scenarios developed for the purpose of study are
shown in Table 5.
TABLE 4: Key Assumptions for Modeling of Non-electrified Rural India
Key assumptions
Value in 2005
Total Indian electrification rate
Non-electrified rural households
71.7 million
Energy use per capita
4.4 GJ
Energy use per household
23.4 GJ
Increase in energy demand
Population growth rate
GDP growth rate
TABLE 5: Scheme of the Scenarios
Type of scenario
Business-as-usual pessimistic
No electrification takes place
Business-as-usual optimistic
Modest electrification takes place with
grid extension
Renewable energy scenario
Electrification with RE, RE-based end-use
Renewable energy scenario
Electrification with RE, electric end-use
Diesel scenario
Electrification with decentralized diesel
Grid extension scenario
Electrification with centralized grid
BAU 200%
Oil price scenario BAU
Oil price doubles between 2005 and 2030
Oil price scenario DIESEL
Oil price doubles between 2005 and 2030
GRID 200%
Oil price scenario GRID
Oil price doubles between 2005 and 2030
Grid distance scenario
Distance from households to grid is 10 km
Grid distance scenario
Distance from households to grid is 15 km
Grid distance scenario
Distance from households to grid is 25 km
This group of researcher has found that rural electrification with primarily renewable
energy-based appliances is likely to be the most cost-effective option and could reduce up to
99% of total CO2 emissions and 35% of primary energy use from the residential sector and
therefore have very high climate change mitigation potentials. However, rural electrification with
renewable energy turns out to be more costly than grid extensions when electric end-use devices
are predominantly used. Electrification with diesel systems is particularly undesirable for
climate, primary energy use and costs. This research therefore suggests that renewable energy is
a viable option for mitigating energy poverty of rural India in which development aid and efforts
made by government could contribute significantly.
The most common applications of renewable energy for rural population are cooking,
lighting, process motive power, water pumping and heating and cooling (Table 6).
TABLE 6: Common Applications of Renewable Energy in Off-grid Rural Areas [9]
Energy Services
Renewable Energy Applications
Conventional Alternatives
Cooking (homes,
stoves and ovens)
biomass direct combustion (fuel
wood, crop wastes, forest wastes,
dung, charcoal and other forms)
LPG, kerosene
biogas from household-scale
solar cookers
Lighting and other small
electric needs (homes,
schools, street lighting,
telecom, hand tools,
vaccine storage)
small hydropower
biogas from household-scale
small-scale biomass gasifier with
gas engine
village-scale mini-grids and
solar/wind hybrid systems
solar home systems
small hydropower
biogas from household-
scale digester
small-scale biomass gasifier
with gas engine
village-scale mini-grids and
solar/wind hybrid systems
solar home systems
Process motive power
(small industry)
small hydro with electric motor
biomass power generation and
electric motor
biomass gasification with gas
diesel engines and generators
Water pumping
(agriculture and drinking)
mechanical wind pumps
solar PV pumps
diesel pumps
Heating and cooling (crop
drying and other
agricultural processing,
hot water)
biomass direct combustion
biogas from small- and medium-
scale digesters
solar crop dryers
solar water heaters
ice making for food preservation
LPG, kerosene, diesel
The rural poor families use biomass mainly for cooking in conventional chulhas made of
mud and brick which are only 10-15% efficient. Thus, the first technology to be considered for
improved energy access in rural areas is improved chulhas which have much higher efficiency
reaching up to 40%. Apart from being more efficient and thus enabling the rural women to spend
less time in collection of fuel wood, emissions of indoor pollutants are also reduced [10].
The second technology to be considered for cooking in rural areas is solar thermal
cooking, which uses the direct heat from the sun. Solar thermal cookers can be 30% to 70% more
efficient than regular cooking stoves and the production costs are decreasing dramatically.
In India, where there are large amounts of cattle, biogas holds a great promise in
delivering change in rural areas. Biogas is produced from animal and human waste through a
process known as anaerobic digestion. The methane gas so produced can be used as a fuel
replacing traditional biomass fuel or even kerosene and LPG. The small scale production of
biogas in rural areas is a well-established technology and can be used at low cost.
Agricultural residues, like rice husk and sugar bagasse can be used in place of traditional
fuel wood directly. The biggest problem with the use of agricultural residues for the purposes of
energy is their low energy content per volume, which requires the handling and transportation of
large quantities of these fuels. This problem can, however, be solved by making the briquettes of
condensed agricultural residues.
Solar Photovoltaic (PV) panels are very popular to target energy problems in remote
disconnected areas. PV panels are particularly good for stand-alone systems for the production of
electricity, like street lighting, community facilities, or solar home systems. The main problems
with PV panels are their high capital and installation costs, the need for a battery which only lasts
four to five years, expensive spare parts and the fact that they cannot be produced locally.
Wind energy has also emerged in last few years as an option for rural energy supply. The
power generated by wind turbines can be used for both, a household system, or an integrated
grid. The wind energy is, however, less reliable than other sources and for electricity it might
also be too expensive due to the high replacement costs of batteries. But for other applications
like mechanical energy for water pumping, wind energy can be extremely beneficial.
Small hydropower (SHP) of about 5 kW - 100 kW is a particularly good option for
micro-grids and has huge potential in India. The main advantages of SHP are that the technology
is mature, easy to maintain, reliable and has low operating costs. The only disadvantage is high
capital cost.
Indian agriculture sector is facing the new challenges of diminishing land resources,
productivity decline, loss of bio-diversity, natural resource degradation and widening of
economic inequality. Small and marginal farmers are getting difficulty in meeting the
requirements of the food for their families and fodder for their cattle. As a result, every year
millions of poor families are forced to migrate in search of work due to a livelihoods collapse in
the villages. These distress migrants often lock their homes, take a few meager belongings and
move across long distances. The children accompanying their parents are forced to drop out of
school. The numbers of such children under the age of 14 years is estimated to be around 9
million [11].
One primary benefit of energy-based economic development lies in its potential for job
creation, shown in table 7, associated with increased investment in energy supply and energy
efficiency. Several researchers have contended that a large percentage of this employment is
made up of jobs that are guaranteed to remain domestic which are not at risk of being fulfilled by
overseas labor, because the installation of energy systems involves site-specific installation and
construction. Another common conclusion of many works in this field is that the creation and
adoption of low-carbon energy technologies aimed at energy generation and efficiency tend to
create more jobs per unit of installed capacity than conventional approaches.
TABLE 7: Measuring Energy-based Job Creation
Economic impact result
Region examined
0.86 jobs/MW wind
38 jobs/MW photovoltaic
43 jobs/MW solar thermal
Aragon, Spain
4.14 jobs/MW biomass-electric
6.5 jobs/1000 tons/year biofuels
7.5 jobs/1000 m2 solar thermal
13.2 jobs/MW wind
20 jobs/MW hydroelectric
31 jobs/MW biogas
37.3 jobs/MW peak solar photovoltaic
Asturias, Spain
2.57 jobs/MW construction wind
0.29 jobs/MW O&M wind
4.00 jobs/MW construction geothermal
1.67 jobs/MW O&M geothermal
4.29 jobs/MW construction biomass
1.53 jobs/MW O&M biomass
3.71 jobs/MW construction biogas
2.28 jobs/MW O&M biogas
5.71 jobs/MW construction solar thermal
0.22 jobs/MW O&M solar thermal
7.14 jobs/MW construction solar photovoltaic
0.12 jobs/MW O&M solar photovoltaic
15.1 jobs/MW installed capacity of wind
0.4 jobs/MW additional in O&M + other activities
European Union
In India, more than 833 million people live in villages which constitute 68.84% of total
population. Not all but majority of this large rural population live in miserable conditions with
poor human development facilities such as health, education, power, roads and marketing
facilities. It is true that energy alone can not alleviate income poverty in rural India, but it can
definitely help in reducing hardships from their daily lives and may open the doors for several
There is a gloomy scenario of energy sufficiency in the rural areas which does not match
with ground realities of rural India. The agriculture sector is already facing many challenges and
its share in GDP is going down, it’s a time for researchers and policy makers to find out –
What’s going wrong on ground? Our policy makers must understand that by stretching
transmission lines up to the villages do not solve the energy scarcity of rural India. When 60% of
country’s workforce is dependent on agriculture and allied sector, it can be said without
hesitation that if our policy makers are able to focus on agriculture sector and energy needs of
rural India, country’s wheel of growth will move at a pace not seen earlier.
The country imports around 70% of its crude oil requirement from international market at
a heavy price for its economy. There is an urgent need to develop liquid fuel production policy
based on ethanol and biodiesel. If the share of ethanol is further increased in transportation fuel
and its use is expanded as cooking and lighting fuel, it is estimated that ethanol production itself
can bring in about Rs 40,000-50,000 Crore wealth to rural India.
The more waste and degraded land should be brought under Jatropha and tree borne non-
edible oilseeds like Neem and Karanja for producing biodiesel. With very little processing
required for biodiesel, the farmers can get substantial remunerations by growing them.
If energy needs of rural women are solved by access to modern energy services like cooking
fuels and mechanical or electrical energy for water pumping, it will have a net positive effect on the
well being of rural families. The women make a huge manpower in our country and they waste large
parts of their time finding energy and also suffer the most from indoor air pollution. If their energy
needs are targeted, the chances of decreasing rural poverty are increased because the time saved can
be utilized in other income-generating activities that keep them busy and allow them to pay for
energy services and earn money for their families.
Most of the rural people have now become accustomed to the hardships of sub-standard
cooking and lighting conditions. They are used to accessing free biomass for cooking and paying
little for kerosene-based lighting. Therefore, it is very important to educate them about the
benefits of modern energy access even at additional cost [16].
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UN economic and social commission for Asia and the Pacific, 2003, New York.
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Please cite this article as: Sharma UC, Singh N. Role of energy in bridging the rural-urban gap
in India. In: Suresh S, Sudhakar K, editors. International conference on global scenario in
environment and energy (ICGSE2 2013), BS Publications, Hyderabad; 2013, p. 1527.
... On account of rural-urban composition of population, India is far ahead from other nations. 68% of Indian population still lives in villages with no access to enough clean water, electricity, roads, hospitals and other basic facilities [1] . Rural-urban gap in India has long been a cause of great concern for Indian policymakers as they understand that country can never shine with its smaller urban masses leaving behind larger rural population. ...
... The agriculture sector in India is the main source of livelihood for country's rural population. It supports 47% of the country's workforce which is characterized by low income levels, poor quality of life and a weak base of human development [1] . A sizeable fraction of workforce in China (35%) and Brazil (15%) are also dependent on agriculture sector while in rest of the countries, it is less than 5%. ...
... Biomass forms a significant component of energy mix in India also; though not due to any favourable government policies or any successful biofuel program, but due to its income poor large rural population. Wood fuels and crops residues meet 80 to 90% of total energy needs in rural households in India [1] . ...
Conference Paper
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By the year 2050, around two-third of the thirty largest economies in world will be the countries today considered as emerging economies. BRICS countries are most likely to be among the leading countries during most of this period. BRICS is the acronym for a group of five countries: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. BRICS countries represent 40% of the world population with 20% of world combined gross domestic product (GDP) representing 18% of the world economy. BRICS countries hold significant influence over regional and global affairs and have the potential to create a future model for others. On the other hand, United States is the only superpower in world today. It has a large economy, powerful democracy and highly influential media. It contains the world's strongest army with a capability to project military power around the world and is undeniably the leader of the international system lead by the western world. Economic development of a country depends on various economic (natural resources, capital formation, Foreign Direct Investment, tax system, finance system, free market economy, macroeconomic management, technological innovations, research and development, human capital, transformation of traditional agricultural society, basic infrastructure-power, roads, air and sea route connectivity) and non-economic factors (political stability, low state intervention and bureaucracy hassle, geographic location and climate, legal system, property rights, social and psychological factors, education, urbanisation, religious factors). Power/energy is one among the key ingredients required for economic growth and development of any community or section of society and country at large. The government of India (GOI) aims to achieve and keep up a high growth rate of over 8% in the next two decades to meet its development objectives. Availability of energy in sufficient quantity would be a prerequisite to sustain such high economic growth. The present study aims to suggest an energy mix for India required over next three-to-four decades to rotate the wheels of India Inc. at full speed. This article comprises three main sections. The section I compares the major socioeconomic factors for BRICS countries and United States. The section II focuses on India and presents a number of studies made on future energy demand and supply projections for the country. In section III, taking cue from the preceding sections, the article suggests an energy mix for India considering optimum utilization of all available sources of energy such as crude oil, natural gas, coal, hydropower, nuclear, solar, wind, biomass and others as well.
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The energy poverty line is defined as the threshold point at which energy consumption begins to rise with increases in household income. This approach is applied to cross-sectional data from a comprehensive 2005 household survey representative of both urban and rural India. The objective is to determine if the energy poor are also income poor and whether and how energy policies help reduce energy poverty, independent of income. The findings suggest that in rural areas some 57% of households are energy poor, versus 22% that are income poor. But in urban areas the energy poverty rate is 28% compared to 20% that are income poor. That is, energy policies are expected to play some roles in mitigating energy poverty. We find that reducing energy poverty requires not only support for rural electrification, but also more use of modern cooking fuels such as LPG. While income growth matters, a combination of energy related programs can play an independent and substantial role in reducing energy poverty.
The objective of this study is to develop a mathematical model for the effective utilization of renewable energy sources in a developing country like India. Decentralized energy planning (DEP) is in the interest of efficient utilization of resources. DEP is one of the options for meeting the rural and small scale energy needs in a reliable, affordable and environmentally sustainable way. The main aspect of the energy planning at a decentralised level would be to prepare an area-based DEP to meet energy needs and development of alternate energy sources at least-cost to the economy and environment. The geographical coverage and scale reflects the level at which the analysis takes place, which is an important factor in determining the structure of models. DEP planning involves multiple objectives and different kinds of constraints. The kinds of objective functions and constraints which have to be included in the DEP have been presented in the current work. The model developed here has been applied to a typical Indian block unit, Kunigal, which comprises several villages. Based on the analysis made in the present work, it is found that biomass-based energy systems have the potential to meet all the energy needs of Kunigal block.
India’s rural energy challenges are formidable with the presence of majority energy poor. In 2005, out of a rural population of 809 million, 364 million lacked access to electricity and 726 million to modern cooking fuels. This indicates low effectiveness of government policies and programs of the past, and need for a more effective approach to bridge this gap. However, before the government can address this challenge, it is essential that it gain a deeper insight into prevailing status of energy access and reasons for such outcomes. Toward this, we perform a critical analysis of the dynamics of energy access status with respect to time, income and regions, and present the results as possible indicators of effectiveness of policies/programmes. Results indicate that energy deprivations are highest for poorest households with 93% depending on biomass for cooking and 62% lacking access to electricity. The annual growth rates in expansion in energy access are gradually declining from double digit growth rates experienced 10 years back to just around 4% in recent years. Regional variations indicate, on an average, cooking access levels were 5.3 times higher in top five states compared to bottom five states whereas this ratio was 3.4 for electricity access.
Expanding energy access to the rural population of India presents a critical challenge for its government. The presence of 364 million people without access to electricity and 726 million who rely on biomass for cooking indicate both the failure of past policies and programs, and the need for a radical redesign of the current system. We propose an integrated implementation framework with recommendations for adopting business principles with innovative institutional, regulatory, financing and delivery mechanisms. The framework entails establishment of rural energy access authorities and energy access funds, both at the national and regional levels, to be empowered with enabling regulatory policies, capital resources and the support of multi-stakeholder partnership. These institutions are expected to design, lead, manage and monitor the rural energy interventions. At the other end, trained entrepreneurs would be expected to establish bioenergy-based micro-enterprises that will produce and distribute energy carriers to rural households at an affordable cost. The ESCOs will function as intermediaries between these enterprises and the international carbon market both in aggregating carbon credits and in trading them under CDM. If implemented, such a program could address the challenges of rural energy empowerment by creating access to modern energy carriers and climate change mitigation.
a b s t r a c t Today, there are 1.4 billion people around the world that lack access to electricity, some 85% of them in rural areas. Without additional dedicated policies, by 2030 the number of people drops, but only to 1.2 billion. Some 15% of the world's population still lack access, the majority of them living in Sub-Saharan Africa. The number of people relying on the traditional use of biomass is projected to rise from 2.7 billion today to 2.8 billion in 2030. Addressing these inequities depends upon international recognition that the projected situation is intolerable, a commitment to effect the necessary change, and setting targets and indicators to monitor progress. A new financial, institutional and technological framework is required, as is capacity building in order to dramatically scale up access to modern energy services at the local and regional levels. In this paper, we discussed the energy situation of the developing countries for sustainable development.
This paper presents an integrated method that assesses the socio-economic impact of establishing renewable energy on a regional scale, in particular on the creation of jobs. The method proposed is based on the collection, critical analysis and presentation of the results obtained using primary information sources considering the jobs created as the most direct measure of the socio-economic potential of renewable energy sources. Its design includes contributions extracted from a prior analysis of the existing assessment methods, to lessen the uncertainty of the job ratios often used in these types of analysis. The integrated method implemented has been applied to the autonomous community of Aragon (Spain) as a pilot case, through which the method has been tested and the indicators selected to analyse the socio-economic impact of renewable energy sources on the jobs created, the quality of the jobs and other factors related to the socio-economic development of a territory: technological development, per capita income, territorial development and human capital.
About 72 million households in rural India do not have access to electricity and rely primarily on traditional biofuels. This research investigates how rural electrification could be achieved in India using different energy sources and what the effects for climate change mitigation could be. We use the Regional Energy Model (REM) to develop scenarios for rural electrification for the period 2005–2030 and to assess the effects on greenhouse gas emissions, primary energy use and costs. We compare the business-as-usual scenario (BAU) with different electrification scenarios based on electricity from renewable energy, diesel and the grid. Our results indicate that diesel systems tend to have the highest CO2 emissions, followed by grid systems. Rural electrification with primarily renewable energy-based end-uses could save up to 99% of total CO2 emissions and 35% of primary energy use in 2030 compared to BAU. Our research indicates that electrification with decentralised diesel systems is likely to be the most expensive option. Rural electrification with renewable energy tends to be the most cost-effective option when end-uses are predominantly based on renewable energy, but turns out to be more costly than grid extensions when electric end-use devices are predominantly used. This research therefore elaborates whether renewable energy is a viable option for rural electrification and climate change mitigation in rural India and gives policy recommendations.
India's energy challenges are multi-pronged. They are manifested through growing demand for modern energy carriers, a fossil fuel dominated energy system facing a severe resource crunch, the need for creating access to quality energy for the large section of deprived population, vulnerable energy security, local and global pollution regimes and the need for sustaining economic development. Renewable energy is considered as one of the most promising alternatives. Recognizing this potential, India has been implementing one of the largest renewable energy programmes in the world. Among the renewable energy technologies, bioenergy has a large diverse portfolio including efficient biomass stoves, biogas, biomass combustion and gasification and process heat and liquid fuels. India has also formulated and implemented a number of innovative policies and programmes to promote bioenergy technologies. However, according to some preliminary studies, the success rate is marginal compared to the potential available. This limited success is a clear indicator of the need for a serious reassessment of the bioenergy programme. Further, a realization of the need for adopting a sustainable energy path to address the above challenges will be the guiding force in this reassessment. In this paper an attempt is made to consider the potential of bioenergy to meet the rural energy needs: (1) biomass combustion and gasification for electricity; (2) biomethanation for cooking energy (gas) and electricity; and (3) efficient wood-burning devices for cooking. The paper focuses on analysing the effectiveness of bioenergy in creating this rural energy access and its sustainability in the long run through assessing: the demand for bioenergy and potential that could be created; technologies, status of commercialization and technology transfer and dissemination in India; economic and environmental performance and impacts; bioenergy policies, regulatory measures and barrier analysis. The whole assessment aims at presenting bioenergy as an integral part of a sustainable energy strategy for India. The results show that bioenergy technology (BET) alternatives compare favourably with the conventional ones. The cost comparisons show that the unit costs of BET alternatives are in the range of 15–187% of the conventional alternatives. The climate change benefits in terms of carbon emission reductions are to the tune of 110 T C per year provided the available potential of BETs are utilized.
Several changes are taking place in the energy sector as a result of the development of renewable energies and the implementation of new clean technologies.The use of renewable energies offers the opportunity to diminish energy dependence, reduce the emission of CO2 and create new employment. The involvement of local agents is highly important for the future development in this field, especially in regions whose industrial mix was based on traditional energy sources. Since this is the case in the region of Asturias (Spain), in this article we focus on the expectations of employment generated by renewable energies in Asturias during the period 2006–2010. More specifically we propose ratios of job per unit of installed energy power based on the available regional information in order to forecast energy employment in Asturias. With this aim three alternative scenarios are considered according to a range of possible future renewable energy pathways, leading to baseline, optimistic and pessimistic forecasts.Once these forecasts are computed we also analyse the emergent professional profiles and required skills related to the new jobs generated in the installation, operation and maintenance of the different renewable energy systems.