Renewable energy is empowering and energising India: Greenpeace

Releases report establishing decentralised renewable energy as the future and not just a nice story

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Press release - November 24, 2011
New Delhi, 24 November, 2011: Asserting the fact that renewable energy holds the key to India’s energy future, Greenpeace released the report Taking Charge: Case studies of decentralised renewable energy projects in India in 2010, at India International Centre today. The report was released by Minister of State for Rural Development, Agatha Sangma and Janata Dal United Member of Parliament, Professor Jabir Hussain.

Releasing the report, Ms Agatha Sangma said, "The report provides insight into how renewable energy is empowering people across the country, especially rural areas. People can get reliable energy that does not put additional pressure on our environment. There is a need to leapfrog to a sustainable future and this report shows us the way forward."

The report is a documentation of 10 successful case studies from across the country on how communities, civil society and individuals have used decentralised renewable energy to energise and empower their lives.

Divided into two parts, the report revolves around the social empowerment brought about by successful uptake of decentralised renewable energy by communities, individuals and civil society. While the report also provides details of how this empowerment was brought about, a more precise and concise form gives the technical details of the case studies.

Talking about the report, Manish Ram, energy campaigner of Greenpeace India said, "This report is not a mere documentation of renewable energy case studies, but strong evidence that renewable energy can make India energy sovereign and independent of the fossil fuel economy. Renewable energy is now not just a happy story but has replaced mainstream traditional large scale energy sources in many parts of the country. Policy makers can use the examples given in this report to work along with communities and social entrepreneurs to create a comprehensive and empowering DRE programme to remove the energy poverty in country".

Taking Charge is about stories of communities, which have adopted renewable energy across regions. In Bihar, Husk Power Systems provides electricity to over 100,000 people using rice husk, which was essentially a waste product in the villages. In Delhi, Holy Family Hospital is saving up to sixty per cent on its water heating bills due to solar systems set up on its roof. In Tamil Nadu, Odanthurai panchayat has invested in wind turbines to provide better energy and public services for its citizens.

And near the Andhra Pradesh border in Karnataka, Agriculture Development and Training Society, a non government organisation, in partnership with a community organisation, has built 5,500 biogas units across 339 villages providing clean cooking fuel and energy for heating water. Each of these renewable energy projects has worked because they are tailored to fit the local needs and conditions.

"While travelling across the country to write about these success stories, we realised the criticality of these endeavours particularly when in contrast you see vast areas of the country on hold because there is no electricity. Estimates put this number at 40 per cent of our population. (1) These stories demonstrate how people can benefit, innovative and create a system for further development. We do hope that the government will realise its benefits and create a framework to support these initiatives," said Avinash Krishnamurthy, co-writer of Taking Charge.

This report is a reference that India has the opportunity to build its future energy infrastructure in a way that provides for the needs of the energy-deprived population in a just and sustainable manner. The current coal based energy systems are not only a disaster for the planet but also do not serve the needs of India. The time for an Energy Revolution is now, and decentralised renewable energy is at its core.

Notes to Editors:

Narasimha Rao, Girish Sant, and Sudhir Chella Rajan, "An overview of Indian Energy Trends: Low Carbon Growth and development Challenges." Prayas, Energy Group, Pune, India, September 2009. http://www.climateworks.org/download/?id=f21a4576-0cec-4ee3-bd3f-86d2acd578ce

The report can be accessed at http://www.greenpeace.org/india/Global/india/report/2011/Taking%20Charge.pdf

Photos can be accessed at http://photo.greenpeace.org/C.aspx?VP3=ViewBox_VPage&ALID=27MZIF2IVKY9&CT=Album

For further information, please contact:

Munna Jha, Greenpeace India, 8750156730, 09570099300, Shashwat Raj, media officer, Greenpeace India, 09686861974, Manish Ram, energy campaigner, Greenpeace India, 09741936701,