CSE joins hands with MNRE and MNREDA to conduct a national seminar on promotion of clean energy in northeast India

Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), MNRE's Association of Renewable Energy Agencies of States (AREAS) and the Meghalaya Non-conventional and Rural Energy Development Agency (MNREDA) jointly organise seminar in Shillong 

Stark energy poverty in the northeast region: With 129 GW potential, the northeast utilises a mere 4 per cent of its renewable energy resources 

CSE calls for a decentralised and distributed deployment of renewable energy in the region  

To access the proceedings of the CSE-MNRE seminar, please click here 

Shillong, June 23, 2023: With only 8 per cent of India's total land area, the northeast region possesses a remarkable renewable energy potential of 129 GW, according to the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE). But the region has a long way to go before this potential is realised -- currently, the utilisation of RE resources in the region stands at less than 4 per cent. 

To add to this, per capita energy consumption in the northeast is the lowest in the country, with figures amounting to one-third of the national average (488 kWh in 2021). This energy poverty resembles the situation in some African countries and necessitates immediate action towards developing climate-resilient programmes that incorporate renewable energy. 

This was the focus of discussions at a national seminar organised here today by the New Delhi-based think tank Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), in association with the Association of Renewable Energy Agencies of States (AREAS), under MNRE. The Meghalaya Non-conventional and Rural Energy Development Agency (MNREDA) hosted the seminar, which was titled ‘Promotion of Clean Energy Access in Northeast India’. 

Speaking on the occasion, Jaychand Shiv, programme director, renewable energy, CSE, said: “Through this seminar, we aim to shed light on the various technologies, policies, and challenges involved in transitioning the northeastern states towards a cleaner and more sustainable energy future. We will explore the existing energy mix in the states and emphasise the importance of shifting towards a decentralised and distributed RE deployment. The focus will be on biogas, compressed biogas, and hybrid mini-grids as key components of this transition.” 

Addressing the participants in the introductory session, Abu Taher Mondal, Meghalaya’s minister of power, emphasised on the significance of the recently launched Chief Minister's Solar Mission. According to him, the Mission's objective is to promote self-sufficiency in electricity, thereby reducing dependence on the grid and resulting in substantial power savings. Mondal said that relying solely on power purchases is not a viable long-term solution; instead, the key lies in power generation. 

Rupert M Momin, chairperson, MNREDA, also spoke at the event. Acknowledging the state's considerable potential for generating energy from renewable sources, he pointed out that Meghalaya could produce around 400 MW from small hydro energy projects. The state relies on hydroelectric projects for its power supply, but recent changes in rainfall patterns have posed a challenge, leading to power shortages. “To tide over this crisis, the state is actively pursuing the exploitation of solar energy,” Momin said.

CSE experts conducting the seminar said that by harnessing advanced technologies such as bioenergy, solar, wind, small hydro, etc the region can address its energy poverty and provide access to clean energy to its communities. “This approach not only contributes to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions but also enhances the region's energy supply, generates income for rural communities, and improves the overall resilience of local societies,” said Jaychand Shiv. 

State government representatives participating in the seminar pointed out that the government of Meghalaya is diligently considering implementation of various decentralised renewable energy projects to ensure energy access for rural and remote communities. 

About Centre for Science and Environment (CSE)

CSE is a leading public interest research and advocacy organisation based in New Delhi. CSE aims to promote sustainable development, equitable access to resources, and environmental protection through policy research, capacity building, and public awareness. 

About Association of Renewable Energy Agencies of States (AREAS)

The Association of Renewable Energy Agencies of States is a pan-India body established under the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE). AREAS supports state-level agencies in the promotion, development, and implementation of renewable energy projects and policies. 

About Meghalaya Non-Conventional and Rural Energy Development Agency (MNREDA)

MNREDA was set up in September 1987 to formulate and implement demonstration, experimental, promotional and extension projects and programmes related to new and renewable energy. 

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