Energy is the life blood for the development of any country or state. Bihar which is on a path of tremendous growth, is suffering from extreme energy deficit. The energy deprivation will directly or indirectly impact its pace of growth across sectors in the coming years.
However, with the lowest per capita consumption of 122.11 kWh, Bihar’s greatest challenge lies in providing assured energy access to more than 80% of its population residing in rural areas.
As part of the Dharnai dialogue, currently we are conducting several regional consultations in Muzaffarpur, Bhagalpur and Aara to provide a platform for civil society organisations, think-tanks, PRI members, journalists, entrepreneurs and grassroots innovators to come together and talk about the way forward for Bihar as well as India.
These platforms have become very successful in bringing together various stakeholders to chart out the right path to tackle the energy crisis in Bihar and decentralised energy production models like the one we installed and are currently operating out of Dharnai, as a prime solution.
As you are aware, the first-of-its kind 100 kW solar microgrid in India had been set up in Dharnai and inaugurated on July 20, 2014. It has been developed by Greenpeace India with partners BASIX and CEED. It supplies around-the-clock electricity to more than 2,400 residents, 450 homes, and 50 commercial operations, including two schools and a health care facility.
We have been discussing the need for an integrated approach to rural electrification as an imperative for developing nations such as India, and in this context for the states like Bihar, to progress economically. Given the power situation of the state, the best bet for the Bihar government is to look at the resources available locally in the form of renewable sources of energy which are broadly, solar, wind, small hydroelectric-power and bio-energy.
In each regional consultation the key stakeholders of neighbouring district have been participating. It ranges from local politicians to social entreprenuers and grassroots innovators who have been participating in the discussion. Through these consultations we aim to reach 38 districts of Bihar.
We expect to engage prominent people from Bihar to endorse/validate the Dharnai microgrid model as principal source for energy access. Active participation from diversifiedcivil society organisations, including government functionaries, farmer group, media, lawyers, representatives from research institutions and academicians has made these events a great success.
We will collect and present the results of these discussions to keep people of Bihar and India engaged about the need and importance of solution models like Dharnai.
20 August 2014
Muzaffarpur Zila Parishad Chairman Chanda Devi speaks at the regional consultation held in her area on August 5, 2014.
Naveen Mishra is a Program Officer with CEED