A total of 160 private companies and NGOs have made an appeal to all political parties to include decentralised renewable energy solutions in their manifestos for the general elections.
The appeal was signed by Panasonic India, Barefoot Power, CSIR-NEERI, Observer Research Foundation, Prayas Energy Group, and several others.
The appeal was sent on behalf of Clean Energy Access Network (CLEAN), which is an all-India representative organisation with a mandate to improve rural livelihoods and promote economic growth and jobs through the deployment of decentralised renewable energy.
“India is already doing better than many other countries in fighting climate change, but better is not enough. Radical changes need to happen sooner rather than later. It is increasingly becoming clear that unless we take urgent action to keep in check rising global temperatures, we are not going to be able to sustain life as we know it,” CLEAN President Svati Bhogle said.
CLEAN has called upon political parties to take heed of the global movement in which school students and ordinary citizens are calling on their governments to take rapid action. In its appeal, CLEAN outlined six specific points that political parties could include in their manifestos.
The appeal calls upon political parties to recognise decentralised renewable energy as an integral part of India’s energy planning, to promote investment in renewables, to create rural renewable based jobs, to reduce carbon emissions, expanding on the clean cooking mission, and to resolve regulatory issues of mini-grids.
The appeal also says that mini-grids not only ensure 100 percent reliable, quality energy access, but also solve issues of last-mile connectivity while addressing energy security in India.
The framework for the deployment of mini-grids laid down in the amendment to National Tariff Policy in 2016, stipulates that an appropriate regulatory mechanism should be put in place to mandate the compulsory purchase of surplus power generated by mini-grids into the national grid.
A fillip was provided to the segment with the issuance of the Draft National Minigrids Policy in June 2016. However, this policy has not been finalised nearly three years later.
With regard to creating jobs, the appeal states that the decentralised renewable energy sector is already generating new jobs and creating opportunities for rural entrepreneurship.
Yet there is huge untapped potential. Decentralised renewable energy applications also add value to the agricultural sector, creating new and additional markets for the farming community.
“Decentralised renewable energy solutions are one way to tackle climate change as well as remain committed to India’s developmental needs. We appeal to all political parties to consider adding decentralised renewable energy as a way to India’s energy security into their election manifesto,” Bhogle said.