Decentralised renewable energy is the solution to India’s energy poverty | Centre for Science and Environment

Decentralised renewable energy is the solution to India’s energy poverty

  • Union minister for new and renewable energy, Farooq Abdullah, releases CSE’s Citizen’s Report on State of Renewable Energy

  • In 2012-13, electricity produced by renewables met the electricity requirements of 60 million people. But India still reels under immense energy poverty – 50 per cent of households in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Assam, Odisha and Jharkhand are yet to be connected to the grid

  • Renewable energy projects can have major ecological impacts if we don’t have environmental safeguards

New Delhi, February 28, 2014: In India, 50 crore people have access to less than six hours of electricity every day; 70 crore do not have access to clean cooking fuel – in such a scenario, we need to understand how to mainstream clean energy and energy access across the country. Decentralised renewable energy systems could offer the key to solving this state of energy poverty, said Sunita Narain, director general, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) in her opening remarks at the Fourth Anil Agarwal Dialogue on Energy Access and Renewable Energy, which concluded here today.

In the concluding session of the two-day Dialogue, Union minister for new and renewable energy, Farooq Abdullah, released CSE’s Citizen’s Report on State of Renewable Energy. The report looks at the current status of renewable energy in the country, as well as the issues that plague the sector. It also puts together the policy interventions in solar, wind, small hydro, biomass and waste-to-energy sectors.

The speakers at the Dialogue included B K Chaturvedi, member, Planning Commission; Satish Balram Agnihotri, secretary, Union ministry for new and renewable energy; Ajay Shankar, member secretary, National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council; Deepak Gupta, director general, National Solar Energy Federation of India; and Gireesh Pradhan, chairperson, Central Electricity Regulatory Commission.

CSE points out that renewable energy projects can have major ecological impacts if they are installed without proper environmental assessment and management. Says Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general, CSE and the head of its renewable energy team: “Renewable energy must benefit the local community -- citizens must have the first right over electricity from renewables and they must benefit from the installation of renewable energy on their land.”

Speaking at the inaugural session yesterday, B K Chaturvedi  had said: “It is only fitting that we remember Anil Agarwal with a discussion on energy access, a critical area for the poorer and under-privileged segments of the Indian society. It is they who suffer the most when appropriate energy access is denied or provided poorly to them for their sustainable economic growth.” 

Chaturvedi also pointed out that the highest cause of premature deaths in India is due to asphyxiation because of household air pollution caused by cooking with bio-mass. Use of dirty cooking fuel has been responsible for killing 3.5 million women and children each year, according to a 2013 International Energy Agency report. According to Chaturvedi, India holds nearly 25 per cent of the global population without electricity and 31 per cent without clean cooking fuel.

Renewables: The agenda for change

The growth of renewable energy has changed the energy business in India. In the past 10 years, installation of renewable energy for electricity has grown at an annual rate of 25 per cent; as of January 2014, it had reached 30,000 megawatt (MW).

According to the Integrated Energy Policy, 2006, India is projected to have 30,000 MW of wind and 10,000 MW of solar power by 2031-32. The 12th Five Year Plan (FYP) document has projected a four-fold increase in the installation of renewable power by 2021-22. The resource allocation in the 12th FYP reflects the priority accorded by the government to renewable energy. Of the total plan outlay for the energy sector -- Rs 10,94,938 crore -- during 2012-2017, the outlay for MNRE is Rs 33,003 crore, or about three per cent of the total plan outlay.

However, this is not enough. Due to policy paralysis and uncertainty, the period of 2011-12 saw a significant dip in investments in this sector – from US $13 billion in 2011 to US $6.5 billion in 2012.

CSE advocates a set of action points for the sector. These include, among others, the following:

• Putting in place an integrated policy and plans till 2050.

• The 12th FYP is not ambitious enough – India needs to go beyond those targets.

• Incentivising off-grid.

• Institutionalising green norms for renewable energy.

Said Narain: “Renenwables are expensive compared to fossil fuels today, but they will become cheaper tomorrow. The benefits of moving to renewables are immense – energy security, climate protection, reduced pollution and health benefits.”


• For more on the Dialogue (programme schedule, complete list of participants, videos, factsheets etc)

• For any other queries, contact Souparno Banerjee on 9910864339,



Press Release:Feb. 28, 2014
Factsheet [pdf]
Presentations (Day 2)
Session 1
Scaling up Renewable – a possible proposition?
By: Nayanjyoti Goswami, Programme Director
Scaling up Renewable Energy in India
By: Dr. Praveen Saxena, Advisor
Ministry of new and Renewable Energy Government of India
Session 2
Case for changing India's approach to solar
By: Jasmeet Khurana,Head-Market Intelligence
Bridge to India
Session 3
Green norms for wind power
By: Kanchan Kumar Agrawal, Programme Officer
Wind Resource Assessment
By: Ranjit Bharvirkar, Advisor
Regulatory Assistance Project
Session 4
Presentations (Day 1)
Session 1
Energy Access and Renewables: Is a Leapfrog Possible?
By: Sunita Narain, Director General
Energy Access and Renewable Energy
By: Dr Satish Balram Agnihotri, Secretary
Ministry of New and Renewable Energy
Challenge of Energy Access in India
By: Shri B.K Chaturvedi
Session 2
“The chulha trap” Energy access for health security of the poor
By: Anumita Roy Chowdhury, Executive Director
Session 3
De-centralised Micro Grids in India
By: Anshuman Lath, Co-Founder
Gram Oorja
Scaling up DECENTRALISED renewables for rural electrification
By: Chandra Bhushan, Deputy Director General
Session 4
Sustainable Energy Access in India - Enabling Factors
By: Shirish Sinha, Senior Thematic Advisor – Climate Change,
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation
News Clippings
Greater Kashmir | March 03, 2014
JK signs MoU for 7,500 MW solar power generation
Greater Kashmir | March 02, 2014
JK non-performer in renewable energy: Report
Central Chronicle | March 01, 2014
Renewable energy key to solve power crisis

Photo gallery

Day 2
Day 1


Ajay Shankar
National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council
Ajay Shankar is the Member Secretary, National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council. He retired as Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion in the Commerce and Industry Ministry in December, 2009. As the Joint Secretary/Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Power, he was one of the authors of the Electricity Act, 2003. He also conceived the Rajiv Gandhi Gramin Vidyutikaran Yojana for rural electrification.
Alok Srivastava
Ministry of New and Renewable Energy
Alok Srivastava is Joint Secretary in Ministry of New and Renewable Energy since June 2012.
Prior to joining MNRE, he worked in various government departments including public health engineering and archeology & museums. He has handled a variety of projects with United Nations Development Programme and World Bank.
Anshuman Lath
Gram Oorja
Anshuman Lath is the co-founder and Director of Gram Oorja Solutions Private Limited. Gram Oorja has been working in decentralised renewable energy systems since 2008. It focuses on community-based applications including micro-grids for electricity and cooking. He earlier worked as a consultant for the small-scale sector and in rural development projects.
Anumita Roychowdhury
Centre for Science and Environment
Anumita Roychowdhury is in charge of research and advocacy programme on sustainable cities and urban mobility at Centre for Science and Environment. Over the past two decades, she has worked extensively to build up the Centre’s policy advocacy programme on clean air, public health security and sustainable mobility.
Ashwin Gambhir
Prayas Energy Group
Ashwin Gambhir is a Senior Research Associate at Prayas Energy Group and has been working on renewable energy policy and regulatory issues and on Indian climate policy, especially with regard to mitigation. He also has a keen interest in rural energy use, energy externalities, depletion of fossil energy reserves and the social and environmental sustainability of energy systems.
Atma Ram Shukla
Biogas Forum of India
Atma Ram Shukla superannuated as Advisor (Bio-energy) in the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy in September, 2011 after working for the ministry for about 29 years. He has about 42 years of experience in policy; planning; developing national level Renewable Energy R&D and technology demonstration projects and dissemination programmes and their implementation.
B K Chaturvedi
Planning Commission
B K Chaturvedi was appointed by the Union Government as Member (Energy), Planning Commission in June, 2007. He has been Secretary to the Government of India in several Ministries, including Finance, Human Resource Development (which includes Higher Education, Technical Education and Elementary Education) and Petroleum & Natural Gas for more than six years.
Chandra Bhushan
Centre for Science and Environment
Chandra Bhushan is the Deputy Director General of Centre for Science and Environment (CSE). He has been associated with CSE since 1997. He heads the Industry-Environment, Pollution Monitoring Laboratory, Food Safety and Toxins, Renewable Energy, Climate Change Policy and Advocacy and Training teams at CSE.
Chintan Shah
Suzlon Energy
Chintan Shah is President, Suzlon Energy. He has worked in the field of renewable energy for more than 18 years. Prior to Suzlon he worked in the renewable energy division of TERI. His expertise lies in understanding the policy and regulatory frameworks, tariff estimation, financing, designing and implementation of wind farm projects.
Deepak Gupta
National Solar Energy Federation of India
Deepak Gupta is the Director General of the National Solar Energy Federation of India. He retired as Secretary, Ministry of New & Renewable Energy. He was associated with Ministry of Health & Family Welfare from 1998 to 2008 and spent a year with the World Health Organization in Delhi as Adviser in 2004.
Farooq Abdullah
Ministry of New and Renewable Energy
Farooq Abdullah is the Union Cabinet Minister, New and Renewable Energy. An M.B.B.S by qualification, he has been associated with public service since he was first elected to the Lok Sabha in 1982. He has been part of Jammu & Kashmir Legislative Assembly for five terms and two terms each in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.
Gireesh B Pradhan
Central Regulatory Electricity Commission
Gireesh Pradhan is the Chairman of Central Electricity Regulatory Commission. He has worked at the Ministries of Food and Civil Supplies, Home Affairs and Power. He took over charge of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy in October 2011 and was actively involved in development of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM).
Harish Ahuja
Hindustan Powerprojects Private Limited
Harish Ahuja is President (Strategy & Corporate Affairs), Hindustan Power Project Ltd (Erstwhile Moser Baer Projects). Prior to joining Moser Baer Projects, he was Director (Finance & Law) in Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission for Union Territories & State of Goa, Ministry of Power. He is author of “ Reforming Power sector Reforms: Multiple conflicts, Democratic Solution”.
Jasmeet Khurana
Bridge to India
Jasmeet Khurana heads the Market Intelligence team at Bridge to India. He is responsible for the research, publication and consulting projects undertaken by the company. Prior to joining Bridge to India, he was Managing Director, Headway Solar, a solar consulting firm. An engineer by background, Khurana did his certification in photovoltaics from Stanford University.
Jyoti Dar
Kuvam Energy
As the founder director of Kuvam Energy Pvt. Ltd, Jyoti Dar has spent the past five years to reduce India’s dependence on coal and fossil fuels through use of solar PV energy. She has worked in business management and banking, with clients including the US Government and leading multinational companies.
Kanchan Kumar Agrawal
Centre for Science and Environment
Kanchan Agrawal is Programme Officer, Renewable Energy Programme at Centre for Science and Environment (CSE). He has been with CSE for more than three years working on issues concerning renewable energy sector, particularly wind power. Prior to joining CSE, he had a brief stint with Hindalco Industries, Aditya Birla Group.
Mouhsine Serrar
Prakti Design Lab
Mouhsine Serrar founded Prakti Design Lab in Puducherry, India. The company has provided clean-burning, fuel-efficient cookstoves to around 250,000 people in India, Nepal, and Haiti . Prior to that, he worked in product design as a senior mechanical engineer and consultant for companies including Motorola, Pitney Bowes, Intel, Boeing, and others for more than 10 years.
Naresh K Joshi
Aryavart Gramin Bank
Naresh Joshi is retired General Manager, Bank Of India. His work as the Founder Chairman of Lucknow’s Aryavart Gramin Bank (a unit of Bank Of India) won him and the bank the prestigious Ashden International Award in 2008 for sustainable energy
Nayan Goswami
Centre for Science and Environment
Nayan Goswami is the Programme Director for Renewable Energy in Centre for Science and Environment (CSE). He has over 17 years of experience in the areas of renewable energy and energy efficiency, working in variou organisations like International Copper Association, Reliance Energy, ABB Limited, GE Power Controls and Siemens.
Nikolaus Supersberger
Nikolaus Supersberger is Deputy Director, Indo-German Energy Programme with GiZ. Having began his career at the German think-tank Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment, Energy, he worked in energy system analysis and energy scenario modelling, concentrating on the integration of renewable energies and energy efficiency into traditional supply and demand structures.
Praveen Saxena
Ministry of New and Renewable Energy
Praveen Saxena is Advisor in the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy where he is in-charge of Small Hydro Power Programme. He joined the ministry in 1983 and was responsible for various renewable energy programmes such as Solar Photovoltaics, Wind Energy, Rural energy programmes and policy planning of renewable energy. Saxena has over 40 research publications in International and National Journals.
Priyadarshini Karve
Samuchit Enviro Tech
Priyadarshini Karve is Managing Director, Samuchit Enviro Tech. While working with Appropriate Rural Technology Institute (ARTI) she invented a number of improved biomass burning cooking devices, to reduce smoke in kitchen and dependence on firewood. She is co-editor of ‘ Shaikshanik Sandarbh ’ a Marathi language bi-monthly on Science and Education.
Raghunath Mahapatra
Welspun Energy
Raghunath Mahapatra is the head of strategy at Welspun Energy. Over the past 23 years, he has worked in industry and in consulting organisations. He is an electrical engineer by training and MBA in finance and strategy from XLRI, Jamshedpur and ENPC School of International Management in France, where he was a French Government schola
Ranjit Bharvirkar
Regulatory Assistance Project
Ranjit Bharvirkar is an independent expert working as an advisor with the Regulatory Assistance Project since 2013. He has conducted research and policy analysis since 1997 and has provided technical assistance to policymakers and stakeholders in both India and the US. He also worked for six years at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) in Berkeley CA.
Satish Balram Agnihotri
Ministry of New and Renewable Energy
Satish Agnihotri is the Secretary in Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. As Director General (Acquisition) in the Ministry of Defence of the Government of India, he managed the entire capital acquisition programmes and addressed a wide range of policy, commercial and operational issues. He also worked with UNICEF, Kolkata as Consultant on Child Nutrition and Health.
Saurabh Kumar
Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL)
Saurabh Kumar was appointed Managing Director, EESL by the Ministry of Power in May 2013. He has worked in various capacities in Income Tax Department, Ministry of Power and Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE). He proceded on a UN Deputation to Bangkok for the last 2 years and was handling environmental issues in Asia – Pacific region. Anil Agarwal Dialogue: Energy Access and Renewable Energy
Shirish Sinha
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation
Shirish Sinha works with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) on their India programme as Senior Thematic Advisor – Climate Change. He has over 19 years of experience in rural energy, climate resilient development and energy/climate policy. In 2012, he was awarded Ph D in Public Policy from the University of Twente, the Netherlands for his dissertation ‘In Pursuit of a Light Bulb and a Smokeless Kitchen'.
Sumant Sinha
Renew Power
Sumant Sinha is the Founder, Chairman and CEO of ReNew Power Ventures Pvt. Ltd. He is also currently the Chairman of the National Renewable Energy Committee of Confederation of Indian Industry. Prior to this venture, he was worked with Suzlon Energy, and the Aditya Birla Group.
Sunita Narain
Centre for Science and Environment
Sunita Narain has been with the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) since 1982. She is currently the director general of the Centre and the director of the Society for Environmental Communications and publisher of the fortnightly magazine, Down To Earth. She is a writer and environmentalist, who uses knowledge for change.
Sushil Kumar Lohani
Rural Electrification Corporation
Sushil Lohani is working with Rural Electrification Corporation on deputation as Executive Director, RGGVY Division (Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana). It is a flagship programme of Ministry of Power for providing access to electricity to all households in the country.
Tarun Kapoor
Ministry of New and Renewable Energy
Tarun Kapoor is the Joint Secretary in Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and is responsible for policy and programmes for promotion of renewable energy in the country. He has been involved in development of India’s largest hydropower house, headed a power transmission company and worked as head of Department of Energy at state level.
T L Sankar
Administrative Staff College of India
T L Sankar served as Principal, Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI), Hyderabad for over seven years and continues to be Honorary Visiting Professor (Energy Policy) in ASCI. He has worked in Planning Commission as India’s first Energy Advisor and headed many committees. He is now involved in the Studies on Energy Security for India and for the South Asia Region
Usha Ramachandra
Administrative Staff College of India
Usha Ramachandra, Professor and Area Chairperson of Energy Area, ASCI, is Doctorate in Economics from Central University, Hyderabad. She joined the faculty in 1998 and got involved in several of ASCI’s training programmes and consulting assignments in the power sector. She provides inputs on regulation, restructuring and reforming power sector for ASCI’s other programmes.



Atma Ram Shukla – President, Biogas Forum of India
Ajay Shankar, member secretary of National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council, speaks on rural electrification and the future of renewables in providing decentralised electricity
B K Chaturvedi, member (energy), Planning Commission, says renewable energy holds the key to providing energy access to all
Anil Agarwal (1947 - 2002)

DTE Stories



Previous Dialogue