There are many forms of decentralization but we generally recognize energy that is produced locally with zero or minimal interaction with the centralized grid as decentralized energy. For example, a diesel pump can run even without continual supply of electricity from the main grid. A microgrid or a rooftop system may or not interact with the main grid but they still produce energy locally.
Decentralized energy is a more independent form of energy than grid connected energy consumption but this does not automatically mean that these energy sources are cleaner.
A diesel genset and a kerosene lamp are both examples of decentralized energy but they are also polluting. However, a solar home system or a pico hydro turbine are examples of decentralization where energy is produced through interaction with clean sources of energy (in this case the sun and local waterfalls or streams) whose carbon footprint is minimal.
75 million households in India lack access to the grid and a further 166 million households inefficiently burn biomass in rudimentary stoves to meet their cooking needs.
These households are distributed across rural, remote areas as well as urban slums and informal settlements. Decentralized clean energy is the best way to meet the energy needs of these people who are not connected to the grid. It not only enables them to enjoy electricity but also has a positive impact on livelihood, education and health.
- Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana or RGGVY started in 2005 with a total budget allocation of INR 32314 crores and is now replaced by Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Jyoti Yojana. The total outlay is set at INR 82,308 crores or INR 823.08 billion rupees. Read More…
- Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission has guidelines for distributed energy generation for rural and remote areas with a target of 2 GW.
The draft Renewable Energy Act has provisions for off-grid energy generation and distribution under Part V- Distributed Renewable Energy and Energy Access. Please follow the link to read: http://www.thecleannetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/59-Draft-Renewable-Energy-Act-2015.pdf
- Solar products and services- Lanterns, Home Systems, Microgrids, Pumpsets, Cookers, Refrigerants/Chillers, Desalinators, Charging Stations, Panel trackers etc.
- Bioenergy- Biogas plants, Biomass gasifiers/microgrids, Improved Cookstoves(household and commercial), Waste to Energy plants etc.
- Hydro- Pico turbines/water mills, power plants.
- Wind- Pico turbines, power plants and systems.
- Hybrid systems (solar-wind, solar-biomass etc.)
India’s largest share of renewable energy generation is contributed by wind and stands at 24 GW as of August 2015.
Biomass cogeneration plants for industrial use (at a MW scale) account for 600 MW as on August 2015 or almost half of the total contribution of off-grid energy (1275 MW). However, at a more decentralized, smaller scale, solar systems contribute around 280 MW of energy generation .
Renewable energy accounts for more than 13% of the entire electricity supply in India. The total capacity from renewable energy as on August 2015 is 38 GW out of a total installed capacity of around 280 GW. Read More…
The present government has a total target of 175 GW for renewable energy out of which 100 GW is to come from solar, 60 GW is to come from wind, 5 GW from small hydro and 10 GW from biomass. Read More…
Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is in charge of all renewable energy issues in the country including for the off-grid sector while the Minsitry of Power is responsible for rural electrification. However, there are other ministries that interact with the sector as well like the Ministry of Agriculture (for irrigation pumpsets), Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (for climate change targets, energy for tribal areas etc.) and Ministry of Women and Child Development (for distribution of off-grid clean energy, adoption of clean cooking energy etc.)
Apart from these Ministries, the sector is also relevant to the Ministry of Human Resources -Department of School Education and Literacy (for promotion of education through better lighting etc), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (for promotion of off-grid systems in health clinics, for household use etc.), Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (Green Jobs Sector Skill Council and Power Sector Skill Council), Ministry of Rural Development and Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.