India has resources in abundance to meet off-grid power issues: Krishnan Pallassana

Reading time: 4 minutes
29 July 2015

Energetica India, a magazine focused on energy and power generation in India, interviews Krishnan Pallassana, India Director, The Climate Group, about the importance of off-grid renewable energy for the region.

Why did The Climate Group decide to host the India Off-Grid Summit 2015?

This summit will bring together diverse participants, from practitioners to investors and funders. Together, they will seek ways and means to unleash the power of decentralized energy – thereby contributing to the national priorities on ushering prosperity through clean energy access.

The major focus of the event is to convene and galvanize the off-grid and decentralized renewable energy business community. We need stabilization and growth within the larger renewable energy framework of the Government of India, through a discourse on possibilities and potential for market scale up ensuring energy access.

We are organizing it in partnership with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Government of India, Clean Energy Access Network (CLEAN) and South Asia Network for Clean Energy (STANCE). The event would be held on 19th August 2015 at Le Meridien, New Delhi.

How are you pushing the off-grid energy revolution in India?

We are doing so in many different ways. For example, last year we launched an “off-grid energy competition” to recognize the India’s most innovative and financially attractive business models in the sector, with proven technologies and scope for rapid scale up.

We organized the Off-Grid Energy Challenge in collaboration with the World Bank Institute and the Dutch Postcode Lottery – with the award ceremony hosted by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in New Delhi.

The entries were thoroughly analyzed on those sustainable business models that can accelerate clean energy as a means to drive rapid growth and development. The winners –  MeraGao Power Pvt Ltd., Simpa Networks Pvt Ltd., OMC Power Pvt Ltd. and Nature Tech Infra Pvt Ltd. – were granted US$30,000 each to further rural energy access in India through sustainable and commercially viable off-grid access to energy solutions.

How important is off-grid renewable energy for a country like India? And  how beneficial will the Summit prove to be for the industry?

About 50% of India’s rural population – nearly 80 million households – have little or no access to grid-based electricity, so they rely on dangerous kerosene to light their homes at night.

But despite grid connectivity improving, 70-75 million households will likely still lack access to grid electricity in 2024. This gives us a clear perspective of how crucial it is for India to invest in clean energy initiatives.

India has resources in abundance to meet the needs of and cater to off-grid power issues. What we need is a clear direction through entrepreneurial activity and private sector investment.

Over the next few years, significant access to clean energy is expected to boost local economic development through micro enterprises and employment opportunities, thereby improving the quality of life of rural communities.

The Off-Grid Summit 2015 is then fundamental to bring together business enterprises and leaders from the off-grid energy sector, financing institutions, investors, think tanks and government representatives.

All these stakeholders will give impetus to the role of off-grid businesses in India, ensuring energy access and exploring ways and means to scale up and grow within an enabling renewable energy environment.


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