In recent years, the Government of India has been making aggressive efforts to expand access to energy through various national and state schemes to enhance off-grid rural electricity access. Despite these efforts, nearly half of the rural households in India lacks reliable electricity access and nearly 85 percent depend on biomass, such as firewood and dung cakes, for cooking fuel. The lack of energy access not only constrains productive activities, incomes and employment in rural areas, but also hinders the delivery of essentials such as safe drinking water, healthcare and education.
Expanding rural energy access or rural electrification is, therefore, necessary for economic growth and human development. Towards this, the Energy Access programme focuses on rural electrification through development and promotion of off-grid solutions using local resources and renewable energy. It works towards policy, regulatory and institutional interventions to support the government’s initiatives and promote private participation. It also builds technical and implementation capacity of relevant stakeholders such as state and district-level energy development bodies, financial institutions and energy service entrepreneurs.
While India continues to add generation capacity, the gap between demand and supply remains wide. A major reason for this chasm is unchecked demand.
Poverty eradication and growth needs energy. The Planning Commission estimates that our generation capacity will have to increase by seven times the present figure to meet our growth needs.
The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) is a public interest research and advocacy organisation based in New Delhi. CSE researches into, lobbies for and communicates the urgency of sustainable as well as equitable development.