Access to Clean Energy Program Gets Govt. Go Ahead

The “Scale Up of Access to Clean Energy” program, which is one of the four components under the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Global Environment Facility’s (GEF) project on Scale Up of Access to Clean Energy for Rural Productive Uses (India ACE Project), was recently approved by the Indian government to be launched for the financial period of 2018-19 and 2019-20.

The program with the focus on access to clean energy is being implemented in the states of Assam, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa in its first phase. A total of 19 districts have been identified in these three states for implementation of the scheme and will cover nearly 1,500 beneficiaries. Following which, the program will be applicable to all districts of the three states and will expect to cover an additional 28,500 beneficiaries.

The program will hope to reach 15,000 beneficiaries in the year 2018-19 and the next 15,000 beneficiaries, next year. The funds for implementation of the scheme will be met by a phased allocation plan made for every financial year. The overall cost of the program is ₹161 crores, of which from the data made available, India will provide nearly ₹70 crore. ₹31 crore will be contributed from GEF and UNDP. And the remainder of ₹47 crores will be procured through sources such as state funds and beneficiary contribution.

The project’s focus is on access to clean energy for rural livelihoods. The project is based on the premise that a lack of access to affordable and reliable energy hinders the growth of various critical rural livelihoods activities such as poultry, dairy, horticulture, animal husbandry, fisheries and other village industries. It is expected that decentralized renewable energy for electrical, thermal and mechanical applications will catalyse rural livelihood activities to reduce poverty, increase employment and improve the rural quality of life.

Another goal of the project is reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which the program will hope to achieve through reliable and affordable renewable energy being made available to rural India and the development and deployment of key Renewable Energy Technology Packages for Rural Livelihoods (RETPRLs).

Recently, The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) had also revealed plans for a similar project to install close to 118 MW of solar capacity through off-grid solar photovoltaic projects as a part of the latest Phase III of the Decentralised Solar PV Applications Program, under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM). The program aims to install 300,000 solar street lights throughout the country and set up multiple 25 KW solar projects in regions which lack access to grid connections.

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