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Collective launched in India to bring clean energy to off-grid communities

Date
28 August 2014
Collective launched in India to bring clean energy to off-grid communities

A new alliance to boost collaboration between business, finance, government and civil society around clean energy access, has been officially launched in India.

US Agency for International Development (USAID) recently announced the creation of Clean Energy Access Network (CLEAN), a new alliance for social enterprises, corporate businesses, financing institutions, not-for-profit institutions and the government, to strengthen India’s energy ecosystem and mobilize market-driven approaches for scaling-up access to decentralized clean energy.

India, despite being the world’s fifth largest electricity provider, has more than 400 million people without access to modern energy services. Many see this gap as an opportunity to connect a fast-growing population to renewable energy sources.

In order to support the stakeholders in the off-grid energy space who are working toward this – and importantly, help them to overcome the barriers that exist – 10 not-for-profit organizations have joined forces to create CLEAN, which aims to provide a common platform for voicing the needs and priorities of the sector. The Climate Group is proud to be one of the co-founding organizations of this network.

CLEAN will remain technology neutral and will include both electricity and non-electricity energy usage. The core membership of CLEAN will consist of energy practitioners, while associate members range from private sector companies, research entities and think-tanks to financial institutions and funders.

As a countrywide network, CLEAN seeks to represent India’s off-grid and decentralized clean energy sector to the government and other stakeholders, in order to deliver enabling services in the following five areas:

  • access to finance
  • skills, training and capacity building
  • testing and certification of technology
  • policy dialogue and advocacy
  • network and exchange of lessons learned.

In February 2014, 10 non-profit institutions – Ashden India Collective, Council for Energy Environment and Water, Indian Renewable Energy Federation, SELCO Foundation, Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation, The Energy and Resources Institute, The Climate Group, The Nand and Jeet Khemka Foundation, UN Foundation and WWF-India – signed an Alliance Charter as partners for CLEAN. Several donors are also in the process of signing an Memorandum of Understaning to support CLEAN for up to three years.

Harish Hande, Co-founder, SELCO India, during an exclusive interview to The Climate Group, commented: “Lack of a [common] platform [for off-grid stakeholders] has led to mixed signals and thus mixed policies for short-term gains. Thus some of the stakeholders in India have joined to create CLEAN Alliance, in order to bring cohesive voices to the sector of off-grid. CLEAN will bring in policymakers, industry players, practitioners and financiers together for a better ecosystem that will lead to creation of a sustainable value chain.”

Krishnan Pallassana, India Director, The Climate Group, commented: “Given the potential for decentralized energy in India, CLEAN is an inspiring initiative to consolidate and champion the otherwise sparsely held stakeholders. I find huge opportunity for this coalition to become the most credible collective voice of the sector, joining hands to take the business of off grid-distributed energy to new heights. As one of the founding members of CLEAN, The Climate Group is committed to strengthening the network. We also see the opportunity to promote a south Asian regional coalition to tap a wider energy market."

The challenge of connecting off-grid communities to clean energy in India is part of The Climate Group’s program, Bijli – Clean Energy for All. Funded by the Dutch Postcode Lottery, the project aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance the lives of rural inhabitants by deploying renewable energy technologies.

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