Varied interests in the energy and power sector viz., CDM, carbon rating, Monitoring & Evaluation, Energy Management, Rural Development; Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy related matters; Demand Side Management (DSM), Energy Audits, Distributed Power Generation (Biomass, Wind,Solar and Small Hydro), Participatory Management.

Saturday, September 16, 2006


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Wednesday, September 06, 2006


The Rising Nepal

Rural Energy Development [ 2006-9-6 ]
THE application of rural energy development technologies in the country have begun to show positive results. Since the launching of these technologies, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have been achieved to an appreciable extent. This has come about through the development of decentralised energy systems in the rural areas. The benefits accruing from the energy development technologies have resulted, in among things, reduction in the dependence on fuel energies, including fuel wood and expensive kerosene. This has, in a large measure, contributed to environment conservation. Thus, the technologies for rural energy development should be accorded due priority and their application encouraged and given continuity. A recent survey carried on these technologies and their impact indicates substantive progress in education, income generation, health, sanitation, gender, energy and environment. Following the launching of the energy development programme, the targeted households have managed to increase their income. Other noteworthy findings were that the school dropout rate of children has dropped, and at the same time school enrollment has increased. Also it was found that the maternal and infant mortality rate has declined significantly.

The number of those using toilets has also increased, and at the same time tap water was made available to more people. These technologies have also increased women's participation in development activities. As the country is largely dependent on fossil fuel, the rural energy development technologies should be within the reach of all the rural populace for through their adoption the living standard of the people living in the rural areas could be enhanced. As the bulk of the people in Nepal reside in the rural areas, the development goals, as envisaged by the development planners, are not possible without first addressing the pressing needs of the rural population, many of whom live below the poverty line. Since the rural energy development technologies can be applied without much effort, this is all the more reason for launching these technologies in the country's hinterlands. Since these technologies have shown to be directly linked with the Millennium Development Goals, they should be popularised. These technologies have been found suitable for the needs of the country and are very convenient. Those with the knowledge about these technologies should disseminate them to others. Preferably, the rural energy developed technologies should be launched as a national campaign. They being efficient by nature would bring immense benefits for the country. This would also change the obsolete way energy is being used and managed in the country.


PRESK pilot project in Karnataka

The Government of Karnataka, with support from USAID, piloted a project titled ‘Participatory Rural Energy Services of Karnataka’ during 2003-04. The final objective of the project was to empower the gram panchayats (GPs) to take over rural electricity distribution. The project was initiated in 4 taluks covering 112 GPs and 1143 villages with a population of 7.28 lakhs. Initial surveys indicated that the farmers were facing much more severe problems like water shortages due to drought, mounting debt burden and poor agriculture markets. The GPs were reluctant to take up additional responsibility of electricity distribution under these circumstances. Therefore, it was thought fit to take a participatory approach among the GP members and the farmers. The local farmers were used for data collection on farmer profiles and agriculture practices in field surveys. Workshop meetings were held in the four taluks and officials from Rural Electrification Board (REB) of Bangladesh were brought in to share their experiences in establishing their Palli Bidyut Samithis (PBSs). A resource center was set up in one of the taluks where a farmer could access internet and obtain information on global agri-markets, water conservation, farming practices, renewable energy sources, electricity distribution issues, etc. A motivational film was made and screened to change the mindset of the farmer audience. A massive capacity building program for the GP members on the subject ‘Benefits of taking over Metering, Billing and Collection (MBC) activities of ESCOMs by the GPs’ was designed and implemented in which 276 members participated. This constituted 26% women members. This 18-month effort finally paid off with 30 of the 112 GPs showing willingness to sign agreements with their respective ESCOMs. Six GPs convened special meetings and signed resolutions to this effect. During the same period, KPTCL had also experimented employing gram vidyut pratinidhis (GVPs) for the same MBC activities. KPTCL are now taking further steps to establish a sustainable mechanism to sign MOUs with GPs and utilize the services of GVPs under the scheme.