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Urja Bharati
Volume 3 0 Number 3
. Ministry of Non-conventional Energy Sources
14 C G 0 Complex, Lodi Road, New Delhi 110 003
Rural energy problem: a perspective
R K Pachauri
Rural energy planning: issues and dilemmas
Veena Joshi
Rural electrification in India
Krishna Swarup 10
Integrated Rural Energy Planning programme 13
Special demonstration projects 17
Urjagram: a programme for self-sufficient energy villages
G R Singh, N P Singh 18
Energy demand in the rural domestic sector
Veena Joshi, Chandra Shekhar Sinha
Improved chulha programme
D K Mittal
Improved chulhas for fuel conservation
Parimal Sadaphal, R C Pal, Veena Joshi
Household fuels and health
Kirk R Smith
National Project on Biogas Development
Venkata Ramana P
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Community biogas plant at Methan
Venkata Ramana P
Biomass gasification technologies
- 36
V V N Kishore 38
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Multi-fuel, multi-purpose gasifier system
P Raman, San jay Mande, V V N Kishore 41
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Solar photovoltaic programme in India
Suneel Deambi
.: .;.;. :;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;.; :;::.;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;.;:;:;:;:; ::;:;:;:;:;:;:,:;:;:;:: ; : .;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:::: ;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:; ;:;:;:;:;:;:::;:;:;.;:::;;;:; ,,.
Photovoltaics for rural power
Parimal Sadaphal
= ... == .:===:== === ==
Chandra Shekhar Sinha 47
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Nodal agencies for renewable energy programmes 50
Institutional financing for renewable energy development
R C Sekhar 53
Suggested readings
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fr\ ..q{ARJllct
Minister of State for
Non-conventional Energy Sources,
'1. 14, qftw
frg, 110 003
Block No 14, Kendriya Karyalaya Parisar,
Lodi Road, New Delhi 110 003
6 April1993
With more than two-thirds of the total population in the developing world being in the rural areas,
the task of improving the quality of life and building up self sustaining infrastructure and economic
system, poses a major challenge. Our per capita consumption of energy is very low compared with
that in the industrially developed countries. Even within the low per capita consumption, there is
great imbalance between urban and rural areas.
Energy availability in the rural areas ofthe developing countries cannot be isolated from the basic
needs of sustenance like food, shelter, drinking water and clean environment. In view of the shortage
and finiteness of fossil fuels and the increasing environmental concerns, there is need for developing
sustainable energy systems, harnessing appropriately and efficiently the locally available renewable
energy sources.
Against this background, the various programmes for meeting the rural energy needs of the vast
majority, coupled with removal of health hazards and drudgery involved, acquire an
unexceptionable importance. While the Ministry of Non-conven tiona! Energy Sources has in the last
decade launched several programmes in this direction, such as improved chulha, solar systems for
cooking, heating and lighting requirements, and decentralized energy generation mini-
micro hydel projects,and biomass gasification, there is dire need for mass awareness and education
for speedy implementation and users' acceptance of the various programmes.
I am happy to learn that the Information and Publicity Division of Ministry of Non-
conventional Energy Sources is bringing out a special issue of the quarterly journal Urja Bharati on
the theme of Rural Energy with the assistance of TERI (Tata Energy Research Institute). I wish all
success for this endeavour in fostering communication of benefits of various programmes to the
people in rural areas through the State implementing agencies and otherwise:
S Krishnakumar
11RCl ~
3iYRil4Rct> \3\ilf ~ ~ ~
Goverriment of India
Ministry of Non-conventional Energy Sources
~ "1. 14, ~ Cf>lllf(t)q qf(w
~ ~ . ~ ~ 110 003
Block No 14, Kendriya Karyalaya Parisar,
Lodi Road, New Delhi 110 003
6 April1993
The whole range of non-conventional energy sources now being promoted and developed provides
greater opportunities for meeting the energy needs of the vast rural areas in our country. Wind
power, small hydro, biogas, biomass and solar energy are some of the new technologies which hold
unlimited promise for energizing the homes and work places of our rural population. But no doubt,
considerable work remains to be done to achieve economies of scale in the production of the more
sophisticated systems, to reduce costs and improve efficiencies.
There are substantial social benefits as well. Such programmes as the improved chulha and gobar
gas plant help to reduce drudgery for womenfolk. Dependence on firewood, coal, gas and oil is
reduced .. Dependable lighting in remote villages can help our literacy programmes.
I am glad that TERI (Tata Energy Research Institute) is assisting the Ministry to publish this issue
of Urja Bharati with special focus on rural energy. I have no doubt that with TERI's vast experience
in all aspects of the ~ n e r g y sectors in the country, this issue will be a useful publication for all those
interested in the development of rural India.
1M Menezes
While the Ministry of Non-conventional Energy Sources has initiated a
number of programmes in the field of research and development,
demonstration and extension of various non-conventional energy systems
and device$ in the last decade, the information and awareness about the
socio-economic benefits of several of these programmes amongst the
users/beneficiaries has been somewhat limited. A multi-pronged publicity
campaign has been launched to meet the above objective, with wider use of
electronic and print media than hitherto.
The new thrust of the quarterly journal_ Urja Bharati of the Ministry on
various thematic subjects is yet another dimension to popularize and
provide information on various sectors. The importance of meeting rural
energy needs of the vast population of this country hardly needs any
elaboration. It is hoped that this Special Issue, with the assistance of TERI
(Tata Energy Research Institute), will be another step forward in
propagating various rural energy applications towards alleviating the fuel
crisis and improving the quality of rural life.
D KMittal
Joint Secretary
Ministry of Non-conventional Energy Sources
Rural energy situation:

a perspective
R K Pachauri
Tata Energy Research Institute
he rural energy situation, in India, in particular,
and developing countries in general, is assuming
crisis proportions in several places. Not only is
this a disturbing trend in the country's development, but
a situation fraught with serious implications. Indeed, it
would be no exaggeration to describe the rural energy
problem afflicting several parts of the country as a major
factor in the declining health of women and children, and
also a grave distortion in the use of human and natural
resources. The time spent by women and children in
collecting fuel has gone beyond the stage of drudgery
severely affecting the other household duties. Besides, at
the end of exhausting efforts by a typical housewife and
the children who assist her, she has to make do with poor
quality fuels and inefficient cooking devices which give
her extended exposure to pollutants, affecting her and her
family's health.
India is no exception to the problems associated with
biomass energy production and use. However,
satisfactory approaches to solving these problems have
yet to be evolved, and adequate intellectual and
organizational effort needs to be directed towards this
problem area. In the Government of India, the subject has
so far been receiving fragmented attention from different
departments and organizations. A case in point is the
Integrated Rural Energy Programme being run by the
Planning Commission for almost ten years now, the
results of which have yet to be analysed. Similarly the
social forestry programme of the forest department has
still' some way to go in achieving the objectives that were
behind its conceptualisation and implementation.
However, in the recent years, MNES (Ministry of Non-
conventional Energy Sources) has been responding with
increasing dissemination of renewable energy
technologies/programmes with special emphasis on
meeting the rural energy needs. But on the whole, a
. coherent rural energystrateg)0l'eeds to be formulated and
pursued over a 10-15 years of time horizon to address the
problem. Or else not only would the opportunity costs of
the present practices mount excessively, but an inflow of
large populations from rural areas into towns and cities of
this country would occur, with all their attendant
problems and ill-effects. In fact, as noted energy
economist Morris Adelman has shown in his research, a
large volume of migration from Europe to North America
in the 18th century was the result of acute fuel scarcity in
the Old World, and the promise of warmer fires and
relatively abundant supply of woodfuel on the New
What is baffling is the fact that with a major activity
such as the global rural energy enterpJ:ise-estimated of
having an economic value of around $ 60 billion a year
worldwide-has received little attention from
multilateral organizations and other donor groups. This
figure of $ 60 billion is based on an assessment of the
opportunity cost of time involved in this enterprise on the
part of the poorest of the poor, who do not get paid for
their services. Actually, these costs would be much higher,
if we also took into account the opportunity cost of fuels
that are utilized. Solutions to this problem, of course, are
complex, and require intellectual effort rather than mere
monetary expenditure. For instance, the total worldwide
consumption of traditional fuels is 18.7 x 1()6 TJ. At an
efficiency of use of 8%, the useful energy output from this
fuel can be assessed at about 1.5 x 1()6 TJ. If this quantity
of traditional fuels is to be replaced by conventional fuels
at, say, an increased efficiency of 50%, a consumption of
only 35.8 million tonnes of petroleum products would be
required annually. This would cost just $ 5 billion
approximately at current oil prices. However, there are a
host of problems associated with supplying conventional
fuels to rural areas. So the challenge really is one of finding
institutional solutions by which biomass itself is grown
and utilised efficiently in a sustainable and economically
feasible manner.
The foregoing discussion highlights only one
dimension of this major problem area. It is imperatiye that
a larger debate be initiated covering other facets and
complexities leading to conceptualisation of solutions in
this vital problem area and implementation of
appropriate measures in the future. 0
Rural energy planning: issues and dilemmas
Tata Energy Research Institute
Uke many developing countries, the energy systems in
rural India are predominantly based on biofuels that are
mostly collected, and devices that are made locally at very
low costs. The fast depleting biomass resource base is a
strain on the energy systems, further exacerbated by the
inability of the people to shift to commercial fuels such as
electricity, LPG and kerosene because of low purchasing
power and limited availabilHy. The large subsidies OR
electricity for agriculture and kerosene have been a cause
of concern to energy planners as the experience so far
suggests that the administered fuel prices in the country
are a major barrier to the promotion of greater energy
efficiency and development of sustainable energy sys-
tems. Yet, neither the rural electrification nor the supply of
kerosene has been able to electrify the rural settlements to
desirable levels despite significant progress in the last four
decades. The cooking systems have also remained largely
unchanged. Thus formulating strategies and plans to
develop appropriate and cost-effective energy systems for
rural areas without affecting the ecological sustainability
continues to be a formidable challenge for the planners.
Since 1980 there have been efforts to address the rural
energy problem through promotion and dissemination of
renewable and efficient energy systems; notable among
these are the National Programme on Improved Chulha,
National Project on Biogas Development, and Social .
Forestry. The experience of implementing these pro-
grammes provides valuable insights to address issues in
rural energy planning. Further, area-based planning
exercises have been undertaken at village level in the form
of Urjagrams, at block level as IREP (Integrated Rural
Energy Programme), and at the district level, several of
which have been implemented. During the Eighth Plan
the !REP is likely to be the most important intervention in
the rural energy sector. However, many conceptual and
methodological issues, remain unresolved in planning for
effective energy interventions in the rural areas, some of
which are outlined here.
Objectives of rural energy planning and
Following is an illustrative list of objectives for rural
energy planning and interventions.
To supplement/ replace the commercial energy supply
by renewable energy tecllrologies
To augment energy supply for productive activities
To improve quality of life by upgrading/substituting
the energy systems
To conserve biomass fuels to reduce environmental
To increase biomass supply to meet energy needs
I ,
The interventions in the last decade have primarily
concentrated on conserving environment, demonstrating
renewable energy technologies, and improving quality of
life. There has been very little effort to link the rural energy
plans and interventions to economic development of the
target regions. There also seems t<;> be a dilemma about the
role of decentralized renewable energy systems in the
complete energy supply to the rural areas. Most villages
are connected to the grid and those that are away from the
grid would need other infrastructure before renewable
systems can be effectively disseminated and used. The
challenge seems to be in augmenting the electricity supply
using local/renewable resourf s, and in developing
comprehensive packages for areas where grid is unlikely
to reach in the near future. The interventions to improve
quality of life or to conserve environment have to deal
with existing energy systems whose cost to the user is
negligible. This is true for interventions for supplying
cooking fuel or for improving end-use efficiency. The
status of women also plays a critical role in the success of
these interventions. A long term perspective on the
quality of energy services and the mix of fuels at the
national level as well as for the rural areas would help in
developing appropriate rural energy plans and
interventions. So would a clear enunciation of the
objectives of the interventions in the rural ener.gy sector.
Scale and scope of rural energy planning
The interventions in the energy sector have been at a .
national scale, i.e. there has been no regional or problem
area focus. However, the targets have been such that even
with best achievements, the impact on the aggregate
energy use pattern is negligible. To increase the scale of
intervention with current dissemination strategies
without focusing on economic growth may not be
feasible, particularly for interventions to improve the
quality of life or to conserve environment. This implies'
that, those planning for the rural energy sector need to
appreciate the difference between energy requirement for
subsistence, and energy requirement for economic
activities. The mandate of 'integrated' energy planning
has, more often than not, referred to integrating energy
sources and technologies rather than integrati.g the
energy plan with the economic development plan.
In order to change this orientation, it is necessary to
consider the development priorities for the region, as
J>erceived by both the people and officials implementing
the government programmes, and place the energy needs
on the hierarchy of these priorities. This should also be
kept in mind while setting individual targets for
technologies/projects to be recommended the
energy plan. New strategies need to be developed to
address the problem of scale. A problem area approach
may help in making interventions more effective. The role
of women in these new approaches can be a determining
factor for their effectiveness. Thus the scope and the scale
of rural energy planning should be decided in the
framework of overall development planning for a
particular region.
Planning level
Centralized energy planning exercises cannot pay
adequate attention to the variations in socio-economic
and eco-cultural factors at micro level that influence the
success of any intervention. The experience shows that
diffusion of technology as well as better allocation and
utilization of available resources . in rural areas are
achieved through the involvement of local people and
institutions in the formulation of development plans and
their implementation. Thus, decentralization has to be
adopted in the interest of efficient utilization of resources
and equitable sharing of benefits from development.
Besides the decentralization of development planning
which is currently taking shape as Panchayati Raj Bill,
there is one specific reason to endorse decentralized rural
energy planning. An important characteristic of rural
energy system based on biofuels is its localized nature
arising out of the localized nature of supply of biomass. If
this factor is not considered in an aggregate plan, chances
of aiming the interventions at wrong target groups or
areas are high. Only a decentralized planning exercise can
consider the local factors adequately.
The distriCt as a planning unit has been widely accepted
in India and some efforts are in progress to build
capabilities at that level to prepare district development
plans. Therefore, to integrate an energy plan with a district
development plan, it seems appropriate to build energy
planning capabilities at the district level. The
implementation can then be managed at the block level.
Planning methodology
In preparation qf rural energy plans, generally a total
redesign of the existing energy system based on a well-
defined, logical sequence of steps to fulfill a pre-
determined objective (maximizing returns from
agriculture, minimizing total annual cost, maximizing
efficiency, etc.) subject to local constraints, has been
attempted. Such a task requires considerable time and
financial resources, and competent professional
manpower. Besides, experience suggests that such an
exercise is unlikely to incorporate the economic
imperatives of the region.
The other method, which has been attempted in a
recent study sponsored by MNES (Ministry of Non-
conventional Energy Sources), relied on secondary
(existing) data and local knowledge to elicit suggestions
on .pragmatic, workable interventions in the existing
energy system; which would reflect the more immediate
energy needs of the people. This may be a part of the
energy system or a geographical duster which requires
attention, or the availability of energy is perceived to be a
major constraint in economic development. Stresses in
energy system$ of any small pocket are somewhat easier
and much quicker to identify. The time and financial
requirement, therefore, is significantly lower, though the
competence of the manpower required may perhaps be
higher. The interventions are valued by the beneficiaries
and incorporates judgement of officials entrusted with the
task of implementing programmes in the region.
Participatory planning method can be very effectively
used in such exercises.
Also, implementing programmes intensively in small
dusters makes it much easier to plan and provide for
manpower, spares, etc., for an effective post-installation
maintenance. Such an approach also derives support from
the argument that rural energy interventions should be
directed where the chances of success are the highest
rather than to spread out too thin, given the
financial constraints in India.
Considering the dependence of the rural energy system
on it is the biomass resources that are of primary
importance to a rural community. Notwithstanding this,
there is little information available on the supply of these
fuels. Part of the reason for this is the complexity of the
biomass system. The boundary of the supply system
rarely corresponds to the administrative boundaries.
Biomass rarely enters the monetary market, making it
even more difficult to monitor exchanges and
movements. Therefore, it is imperative that a proper
methodology be devised to assess the biomass availability
as an integral part of the energy planning. While analysing
the biomass situation in an area besides its role as an
energy source, its other uses such as fodder, and timber
need to be examined.
As far as energy demand is concerned, it could be based
on either the requirement or the consumption. If the
objective of the intervention is to alter the energy
consumption or fuel-mix, the demand should be based on
existing consumption levels and patterns. But for
interventions dovetailing the economic development, like
in the method being discussed here, requirements would
be a better indicator of the energy demand. Finally, the
institutional aspects of implementation and mobilization
of financial resources are crucial.
Technology options
The technology options for providing energy services to
rural areas are still very limited. In the last decade, the
technology development has largely been through
technical back-up units and co-ordinated programmes in
academic institutes. This approach needs to be enlarged
and linkages with entrepreneurs, and small and medium
industries in rural areas should be developed to work in
the framework of energy systems and services. A goal-
oriented R&D programme based on local and renewable
r ~ s o u r c e s is necessary: to meet the challenges in the rural
areas. Here again a focus on developing convenient and
environmentally friendly energy systems based on
biofuels can lead to greater impact.
A rural energy plan should be integrated with the
development planning of the area. It should address the
requirements of the economic growth in the area, in an
envircmmentally sustainable manner. Interventions to
improve the quality of life would have to be developed
using participatory approaches. The areas with stress on
environment can be identified and interventions designed
for problem areas, to increase the chances of success and
to use the scarce resources effectively. The. biomass
resources play an important role and their study as a part
of energy system should be resource- based and focus on
energy as well as non-energy uses. The biomass can
continue to be an important energy resource in the future
as well if appropriate ,technology options are available.
The scope and scale of rural energy planning can be
decided at the district level as a part of the overall
development planning priorities. The effectiveness of
rural energy plans as well as of decentralized
development plans depends on the capabilities
at the
district level, and on the options for alternative energy
systems. 0
Rural electrification in India
Krishna Swarup
Tata Research Institute
At.the time of independence, 80% of India's population
lived in villages, largely dependent on agriculture for its
subsistence. Biomass fuels, and to some extent kerosene,
provided the needs of rural energy. Electricity was almost
unheard of with barely 3000 towns/villages having the
benefit of electrification in the entire country. But with the
importance attached to rural development in successive
Five Year Plans since 1951, special emphasis has been
given to supply of electricity for lighting, irrigation and
small- scale industries. Given the fact that the rural-urban
mix is still around 70 : 30 in India, this emphasis has
continued through the last decade till present.
Review of physical progress
Rural Electrification (RE) as a programme was mtroduced
in the First Five Year Plan (1951- 56). To begin with, the
programme was viewed as providing a social amenity to
rural areas. After implementing in a few states initially,
the programme was extended to all the states during the
Second Plan. The Third Plan envisaged the extension of
electricity for use in rural small-scale industries also.
Considering that theRE schemes by themselves were not
remunerative, the planners while finalizing the Third Plan
recognized that the implementation of such schemes
could not be assessed purely in economic terms.
The importance of RE programme was particularly
recognized during the drought m mid-sixties, as there was
considerable emphasis on lift irrigation for saving the
crops. The programme was subsequently integrated with
the Minimum Needs Programme. Further with a view to
provide additional funds to the states for RE programme,
the REC (Rural Electrification Corporation) was
established in 1969. This gave a tremendous boost to the
programme in the subsequent Plans. REC now provides
up to 90% of the funds for rural electrification as
concessionalloans to the SEBs (State Electricity Boards).
Under the aegis of REC, electrification made steady
progress, and by 1989-90, 81% of the 5.8lakhs of villages
(1981 Census) was electrified and 83.5lakhs of pump-sets
energized. By the end of Seventh Plan, REC disbursed
over Rs 5417 crores towards these achievements.
Haryana was the first state in India to have achieved
total rural electrification in the early seventies. Since then,
similar feats have been replicated in Kerala, Punjab,
Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu,
Karnataka, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Nagaland and
Sikkim, owing to the concerted efforts made by SEBs and
Definition of electrified village:
need for review
Electrification of a village as per present definition
implies that even if only one or a few households in the
village have the facility, the village is considered as
electrified. In effect, therefore, the fraction of the
households which have been electrified in an electrified
village would be much less. It has been argued that the
definition of electrified village should be modified and a
village should be considered 'electrified' only when the
benefit is available for lighting the streets, village
dispensary, school and community centres, and for a
considerably large fraction of households in the village.
No decision on the new definition has been taken as yet.
However what is needed is that in those villages which
have been declared drive should be launched
to electrify more households and community centres.
::::;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:; ::::-::::::::::
Village electrification through
non-conventional energy sources
Extension of grid supply to villages has been an
unremunerative proposition for the SEBs. The cost of
extending supply through 33 kV and 11 kV lines has also
been increasing. In fact, the villages now left to be
electrified are located in remote inaccessible areas
including hilly, tribal, forest and desert areas. The cost of
extending the grid supply to such villages would be
prohibitive for meeting low levels of demand. Hence, it
would be advantageous to consider non-conventional
means of electrification such as solar, wind, biomass and
mini-hydel systems depending on their suitability for
specific locations and end-uses. The solar systems and
mini-hydel stations, in particular, can make significant
contribution to electrification of new villages and
expanding electrification in already electrified villages. "
Rural co-operatives
Local participation in rural areas was initially envisaged
in terms of villagers contributing a share of the cost of rural
electrification and providing free labour for construction.
However, for effective implementation of the programme
and for developing institutions which could supplement
the efforts of SEBs, the concept of rural electrification co-
operatives has been encouraged by REC, and about forty
such co-operatives are currently operational in 'the
country. REC has been extending loan assistance to these
co-operatives for expanding their activities. But the
programme of co-operatives has not been able to make
appreciable impact presumably because of condi-
tionality of tariffs etc. imposed on them by the
. SEBs.
continue in the Eighth Plan, too, with targets of 50 000
villages and 25 l a ~ h s of pump-sets, respectively. This
includes about 1000 villages in remote areas, which have
to be mostly electrified through non-conventional energy
sources. The Eighth Plan envisages an outlay of Rs 4000
crores for rural electrification under state plan outlays for
the power sector.
Assessment of the REC programme
Although RE has given a boost to the food production in
the country (through Green Revolution) by energizing
irrigation pump-sets and helped in improving the quality
of life of people and increasing their income by providing
electricity for village and small- scale industries, it has also
created problems for the power supply industry. These
are briefly summarized below.
1. The extremely low tariff charged for the sale of
electrical energy to agriculture sector has largely been
responsible for heavy financial losses to the SEBs (RE
subsidy from state governments has not helped the
situation). This has also resulted in wasteful use of
energy and also of groundwater. Energy conservation
does not ;:;eem to be a matter of concern in the
agriculture sector. The efficiency of pump-sets leaves
much room for improvement.
2. In the enthusiasm to electrify a l a r g ~ number of
villages and to achieve cent percent village
electrification, the T&D (transmission and
distribution) systems have been over extended,
resulting in weak and overloaded T&D systems. The
back-up systems have not been reinforced as required.
Progress of village electrification (cumulative)
Kutirjyoti and Light for Rural Millions
Various state governments started the Kutirjyoti
programme for extending the gains of rural
electrification, and forimproving the quality of life
in rural areas. REC too, had launched Light for
Rural Millions programme in 1989- 90 for
promoting household connections. During
1990- 91, a record number of 1.4 million
connections were released under REC
programmes. However, because of the high costs
and unremunerative nature of the programme, the
state governments are not perusing this
programme further, although the need for the
same has been recognized.
(' OOOs)
Eighth Plan programme
The two ongoing programmes namely, village
electrification and pump-set energization would
4 00
~ 300
~ 200
60-61 73- 74 79-80 84-85 85-86 86-87 87-88 88-89 89-90
VOLUME 3 NUMB E R 3 + 11
Progress of pump-set energization
(mi llions)
0 ~ ~ ~ - - _ J - - - - ~ - - ~ - - - - L _ __ _L __ _J ____ ~ - - ~
50-51 60-61 73-74 79-80 84-85 85-86 86-87 87-88 88-89 89-90
3. The high T&D losses (22-i3%)inourcountry are partly
due to RE programme on account of extension of low
tension supply in a sub-optimal manner. The quality of
supply from weak T &D systems also leaves much to be
desired. Theft of energy is also prevalent.
4. Poor availability of power has impeded the growth of
rural industries in spite of the emphasis on supply of
low tension power to such industries.
5. Financing of RE is becoming increasingly difficult
owing to scarcity of concessional funds from financial
institutions including NABARD and commercial
banks, and higher interest rate for market borrowings
and even from REC.
Thrust areas
A rational tariff structure for sale of electrical energy to the
agriculture sector will go a long way in ameliorating the
financial condition of the SEBs. The Ministry of Power has
been advocating a minimum rate of Re 0.50 per unit of
electrical energy for agriculture sector to start with. While
some states are moving i ~ this direction, there are others
who are making the power supply to pump-sets almost
free. A uniform policy in this respect would help tide over
the financial crisis of the SEBs and also help in curbing the
wasteful use of energy.
Metering of supply to the agricultural sector is a
momentous task, but it has to be tackled progressively. In
years to come we have to move away from the ' flat rate'
concept to. metered supply. In the Power Ministers'
Conference held in January 1993, metering of supply to .
pump-motors above 5 hp has been suggested to begin
Integrated system improvement schemes are required
to be prepared for strengthening the weak T &D systems
and for meeting the increasing loads. These schemes
should be prepared district-wise or even tehsil-wise as
necessary. REC is already funding such schemes.
Standard equipment and construction practices are
required to be employed for rural electrification works.
The standards and manuals, developed by REC in
consultation with SEBs, should be followed for procuring
equipment and for construction etc.
Rural electrification programme is to be co-ordinated
with rural industries programme including agro-based
industries, and improved power supply at competitive
rates is required to be provided to rural /small-scale
industries. The role of renewable energy sources for
power generation also needs to be examined in this
The efficiency of pump-sets is required to be improved.
The rectification and modification works on pumps/
motors as necessary, are to be carried out utilizing the
expertise of energy service companies. This is an
important demand side management measure. The
progress so far made in this direction has been inadequate,
possibly due to large numbers involved. In future, quality
pumps, preferably BIS marked, should only be installed.
The utilities should also take steps for provision of
capacitors in the supply systems or close to pump-sets. 0
Integrated Rural Energy Planning programme
Most of the energy consumed in rural areas does not enter
the organized market place, and therefore, there are no
accurate data on patterns of supply and consumption of
energy in such areas. These patterns also often vary with
the prevalent agro-climatic regions. There is, therefore, a
need to understand the patterns of energy consumption at
the micro level, through decentralized energy planning
exercises, to provide sustainable and affordable supply of
energy for meeting the growing rural energy demand.
While locally available renewable energy sources will
have to play a critical role in the future in meeting rural
energy needs, the rural population will also have to be
provided its due share. of commercial energy especially
for the economic development and modernization of the
rural areas. The IREP (Integrated Rural Energy Planning)
programme, promoted by the Rural Energy Cell of the
Planning Commission, has been a major effort in this
direction in planning for energy for rural development,
taking into account the concerns for equity and social
IREP was initiated in the Sixth Plan as a pilot scheme.
Under this, pilot projects were launched in a few selected
blocks of the country to develop a methodology for
decentralized integrated rural energy planning, and
institutional arrangements for preparing and
implementing energy plans and projects, which would
provide the least-cost mix of energy options (both
conventional and non-conventional sources). On the basis
of this exercise, the IREP programme was prepared and
became a regular plan scheme in the Seventh Plan. It had
provisions for developing institutional mechanisms,
project preparation and implementation, financial
incentives, training, and R&D including computer
modelling and monitoring.
The IREP programme in the Seventh Plan was funded
by outlays provided under the Central and State Plans.
The Central Plan component was utilized for setting up
the insti tu tiona! mechanisms in the states/UTs with funds
for professional and support staff in the IREP cells at the
state levet"and in the selected districts/blocks, as well as
for the training. The State component of IREP funds was
utilized for project preparation and implementation, and
financial incentives for the promotion of rural energy
technologies, as part of the block-level IREP projects.
During the Seventh Plan and in the subsequent two
annual plans (1990-91 and 1991-92), about 250 blocks
were covered. Block level project documents have been
prepared for most of these blocks. The major conclusions
drawn from the IREP programme in various blocks in the
different agro-climatic zones are as follows.
Wide variations in energy consumption levels were
found in different agro-dimatic zones, ranging from
830 000 to 2 868 000 kCal per capita annually of gross
energy consumed for cooking. There were also
variations in the pattern of non-comm:ercial fuel use in
these zones, further confirming the need for
decentralized energy planning.
It was revealed that in all agro-climatic zones, non-
commercial energy sources contributed more than
90% of total energy consumed for cooking, except in
the Middle Gangetic, and East Coast Plains and Hill
zones, where it was 78.9% and 86.8%, respectively.
The analysis of data the IREP blocks further
shows similadty in the amount and type of energy
used, particularly for cooking within an
zone. However, there are significant differences in
quality and quantity of energy usc across the various
Wide variations were observed in the energy
consumption levels for agriculture, transport and
indus trial sectors, which again necessitate micro-level
planning and implementation of rural energy
programmes. Animate energy constituted more than
50% of the energy consumed by agricultural activities.
It is used most inefficiently and to be substituted
with more efficient commercial and renewable energy
forms, whose mix would have to be area-specific and
be estimated by decentralized energy planning.
Constraints in. implementation of IREP
A major impediment in implementation of the IREP
programme was the sectoral barriers and lack of co-
ordination among the concerned energy supply and use
departments/ agencies at different levels- national, state,
district and grass-roots. The involvement of potential
beneficiaries at the grassroots in the planning, and supply
of different energy sources and technologies is still limited
and needs to be strengthened by the programme.
Another limitation was the lack of suitable extension
mechanisms at the grass roots. Such mechanisms can
create awareness in people about the programme, and can
provide technical and financial support in the installation,
operation and maintenance of different energy devices.
Affordability among the potential beneficiaries is also
a major constraint. Mechanisms are required for
mobilizing resources not only from the budgetary support
provided by the Central and State plan funds but also
through local self government bodies, including the direct
involvement of the people. Thus peoples' participation
need to be effectively organized not only by the
government machinery but 'also by voluntary
organizations, educational institutions, mahila mandals
and charitable organizations, in co-ordination with the
panchayats and IREP cells.
The involvement of potential beneficiaries will be
further ensured by linking IREP with other existing and
new rural development programmes such as IRDP, JRY,
TRYSEM, and rural housing. The active association of
women could be ensured by linking IREP with DWCRA,
health and family welfare programmes, ICDS, etc. The
literacy programme, can also create awareness about the
IREP programme.
Awanmess building, however, should be supported by
education and training of the potential beneficiaries, as
well as of those directly and indirectly involved with the
planning and implementation of the programme. In the
Seventh Plan, a major task was training of professional
IREP staff in the states/UTs.
National, regional, and state level academic,
professional and technical institutions were involved in
the trainmg component. Technical and financial support
was provided to such institutions for conducting training
courses. A national and four regional training cum R&D
centres were also established under the programme. The
national level centre-Centre for Integrated Rural Energy
Planning (CIREP)- was set up in Bakoli village in Delhi in
co-operation with the Delhi Administration, and with
technical and financial support from the Planning
Commission under the centrally sponsored scheme for
!REP. The four regional centres are located in Lucknow
(Uttar Pradesh), Bangalore (Kama taka), Kheda (Gujarat)
and Shillong (Meghalaya). The Delhi and Lucknow
centres are fully operational and conduct regular training
programmes and R&D activities. The other centres are
expected to become. fully operational during the Eighth
Plan. Besides these, state-level technical back-up units
have been set up in selected institutions for providing
technical support in the planning and implementation for
the programme. Also, district level IREP back-up units
14 + U R ) A B H A R A T. I
have been set up through ITI/polytechnics in selected
IREP blocks to provide technical assistance.
Though the training course is now well established,
attracting and retaining professional staff in IREP cells is
a problem as the participants often return to their parent
departments, and training exercises have to be repeated
for the new incumbents. Owing to lack of a regular cadre
and promotional avenues, qualified professionals are
often reluctant to join the programme. The linkage of IREP
programme with various rural development, energy and
related programmes, as envisaged in the Eighth Plan
would alleviate this problem to some extent.
The functioning of IREP cells in state/UT nodal
departments, which are currently implementing the
programme, poses an institutional problem. These
departments are burdened with other schemes and often
tend to give low priority to IREP. Moreover, the staff
allocated to the IREP cells as part of the centrally
sponsored scheme have additional tasks and thus have
little time for IREP. In many cases, the block staff functions
from district headquarters resulting in lack of regular
interaction between the IREP staff and the potential
beneficiaries. Suitable guidelines need to be formulated to
ensure the effective functioning of the IREP cells.
But despite the constraints a sound base for the
implementation of the programme has now been created.
The demonstration and extension efforts have created
awareness in the government and non-governmental
levels about the widespread interest of the rural
population especially in IREP blocks in various
alternative and existing energy sources and their efficient
utilization for meeting their needs. With such positive
feedback, IREP is now poised to become a major
operational programme in the Eighth Plan.
IREP in the Eighth Plan
The areas that are to be emphasized in the Eighth Plan
include stronger linkages with the agricultural and rural
development programmes, increasing focus on the
environment problems, and promoting large-scale
peoples' participation by ensuring involvement of the
beneficiaries at all stages of the programme. In keeping
with the broad objectives of the Eighth Plan, IREP will
focus on two major areas: 1. provision of energy for
meeting the basic needs of cooking, heating and lighting,
especially for the weaker sections, by utilizing locally
available energy resources to the extent possible; and 2.
provision of energy as a critical input in the economic
development of the rural areas, which would result in
creation of employment, increase productivity and
income, and accelerate the process of decentralized
0 C E A N
Agro-climatic zones
Scale 1: 150,00,000
. ~
.. .
0 0
development. This category will include energy for
sustainable agricultural production, as well as promotion
of sustainable rural development activities.
IREP programme now has sufficient experience in
micro-level energy planning for meeting subsistence and
production needs. But the extension and intensification of
the programme has to be accomplished by effective
linkages with the state and district planning framework.
In the Eighth Plan the programme has also to ensure
sustainable energy supply to the rural areas in view of the
growing gap between energy demand and supply; and
take into account the environmental impacts of the
depletion of the biomass cover so as to be suitably
incorporated in the micro- and macro-level rural energy
planning framework.
The expansion of the programme, however, would be
taken up in a phased manner. This is to ensure that its
growth is in step with the development of local
capabilities, awareness building, active participation of
the c0&unity in the programme, and the availability of
institutional mechanisms to facilitate the supply of energy
and dissemination of technologies for sustainable
agricultural and rural development. The IREP in. the
Eighth Plan will have the following major features.
of the programme to cover at least 100 blocks
Provision for the minimum energy needs of cooking,
heating and lighting in each IREP block, to ensure
hundred per cent coverage for the economically
weaker sections.
Provision of the most cost-effective mix of energy
sources and options for meeting, to the extent possible,
the requirements of sustainable agriculture and rural
Ensuring extensive peoples' participation in planning
and implementation of the programme by direct
involvement of panchayats, voluntary and non-
organizations, and the establishment of
other such appropriate people oriented arrangements,
\ wherever feasible, at the micro level for the
implementation of the IREP projects.
Developing and strengthening the mechanisms and
co-ordination arrangements that would effectively
link micro-level planning for rural energy with
national- and state-level planning and programmes
for energy and economic development to ensure
regular and planned flow of energy inputs, especially
commercial energy sources for meeting to the extent
possible, the needs of the end-user.
Financing the programme by supplementing available
central and state budgetary support with funds
mobilized by the local bodies and peoples'
participation. Financial institutions such as NABARD
and DFis (Development Financial Institutions) and the
banking system will be actively involved in financing
IREP projects for which suitable new schemes will be
A provision of Rs 500 crores has been made for the
minimum domestic energy needs of the economically
weaker sections in the IREP blocks. A separate
provision of Rs 250 crores has been made for
development of capabilities fur the planning and
of the programme in states/ UTs. This
will be used to incorporate institutional mechanisms
in the centre and state, including the setting up ofiREP
cells at the state and district/block levels, training
programmes, technical units, national and
regional training-cum-R&D centres, research and
development activities, and demonstration and
extension. 0
Based on excerpts from the Eighth Plan Document of the
Planning Commission, New Delhi
Apa:rt from various technology dissemination programmes, MNES has initiated a
programme of SDP (Special Demonstration Projects) aimed at providing/ creating
demonstration facilities for the entire gamut of NRSE (New and Renewable Sources of
Energy) systems and devices in specific target areas. These demonstration projects are
expected to act as a focal point for growth and a catalyst for meeting energy needs in
such locations. Cost of these projects is met under the approved pattern of financial
assistance for different dissemination programmes. In certain special cases, full central
assistance is also made available.
Under this scheme, a NERI (Non-conventional Energy ~ e s e a r c h Institute) has been
set up during 1992- 93, at Mau in Ghosi district of Uttar Pradesh by the NEDA (Non-
conventional Energy Development Agency). This would serve as a demonstration-
cum-training centre for use of various NRSE devices and systems to meet the
minimum energy needs of that area.
Some of the special targets to be taken up under this programme are: (1) solar
passive guest house, (2) solar passive office block, (3) solar passive residence block,
(4) common/ general works or facility, (5) solar photo voltaic power plant for office
block (7 MW), and (6) training and office aids.
During the year 1993-94, it is proposed to extend this programme to such areas,
where energy availability through conventional sources may yet be a distant dream,
and the use of non-conventional sources of energy may be cost-effective. The
programme will have following salient features.
It shall strive to meet the basic minimum energy needs of the areas selected (unit
of area to be decided on economic considerations).
The area to be adopted, should at present either be non-electrified and not likely
to be energized in foreseeable future, or supply of energy through other alternative
means is a costlier proposition than the possible supply of energy through non-
conventional sources of energy.
Cost-effectiveness of the proposal for that area, so that it could serve as a pilot
project for further replication in other areas by state/UT governments or nodal
The villages/areas to be chosen for the demonstration programme would be
situated in high altitude areas, difficult terrain or remote areas (eg North-east), islands
far away from the main land, non-energized tribal areas, as also a few other plain areas
. in the country. 0
' I
. Urjagram: a programme for self-sufficient
energy villages
G R Singh, N P Singh
Ministry of Non-conventional Energy Sources
The urjagram programme is aimed at harnessing locally
available renewable energy sources such as solar, wind,
and biomass in an integrated for supplementing
energy supply options, and ultimately bringing about
energy self-sufficiency in villages. The selection of
villages, and the non-conventional energy devices and
systems to be installed under the urjagram projects is made
on the basis of surveys of energy consumption patterns,
energy needs and local energy resources. These projects
can contribute not only in meeting the energy requirement
of basic needs of the village community, but also for
agriculture, cottage industry and community facilities,
and lead to generation of economic activity, higher
incomes, and creation of employment at the village level.
Other potential benefits are mitigation of environmental
degradation and deforestation, reduction of drudgery,
and improvement of health and sanitation in the villages.
Institutional arrangements
Urjagram projects are implemented through the state
\ .
extensive data pase for planning and implementation of
rural energy projects. Energy surveys in. 1626 villages
spread over 20 states/UTs have been completed as on 31
December 1992 and surveys of another 395 villages are in
The total project duration of a urjagram is three years,
with installation to be completed within the first six
months. Funds are provided for the renewable energy
components, generally as per the prevailing norms of
existing individual MNES programmes/schemes. The
systems and devices to be installed in urjagram projects are
adjusted against overall allocation/targets of various
ongoing programmes in different states. Funds for
controlled operation and management of projects are
provided under urjagram budget head for a period of three
years, with MNES providing full funds for the first year,
and equal sharing by MNES and the state nodal agency for
the following two years. In addition, about 10% of the
equipment cost is usually provided depending upon the
system configuration towards miscellaneous expenditure
nodal agencies in association with
ed uca tiona I institutions, research
organizations, industry and voluntary
organizations. Two types of energy
survey formats are used to collect detailed
information on consumption patterns,
needs and resources, relevant for
planning and implementation of
urjagrams. A first level survey is carried
out by using the 'Quick Energy Survey
Format' and a detailed survey is
conducted using the 'Four. Part Energy
Survey Format'. Unelectrified villages
having population of 500--lOOO,
and SC/ST /backward/remote area
settlements are generally chosen for
urjagram projects. A large number of
energy surveys have been sponsored by
MNES (Ministry of Non-conventional
Energy Sources) in different parts of the
country wi.th a view to develop an A view of an urjagram in Koraput district, Orissa
Progress of urj agram programme (as on 31 Dec. '92)
West Bengal
Uttar Pradesh
Tamil Nadu
Madhya Pradesh
Jammu & Kashmir
Himachal Pradesh
Arunahcal Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh

0 10 20
IR Completed
on travel, construction and commissioning, spares, tools,
repairs, contingency, etc. The total cost of a complete
urjagram project is in the range of Rs 10--12 lakhs. The
progress of urjagram projects is monitored through
periodic review meetings and regular inspection visits to
different states.
Programme achievements
Till December 1992, 170 urjagrams have been established
in 13 states, and another 225 are under implementation.
Included in these are 20 urjagrams, taken up under the
Special Programme for Ambedkar Centenary
Celebrations, in predominantly SC/ST villages in
different parts 9f the country. Of these 20, twelve projects
were completed by December 1992- four in Madhya
Pradesh, two in Gujarat, two in Kamataka, three in Uttar
Pradesh, and one in Maharashtra. The other eight projects
are in various stages of implementation and are likely to be
completed during 1992- 93. The MNES outlay for urjagram
projects so far has been about Rs 12 crores.
With a view to progressively lead towards energy self
30 40 50
- Under completion
names of states in the bar chart
ed Progress of Urjagram Programme
ge 19 should read as follows
in pa
Fors tate
Tamil Nadu
Or iss a
Mani pur
The error is regretted.
Read as
Tamil Nadu
sufficiency in the urjagram villages, an evaluation of all the
completed projects is proposed to be carried out soon to
aid their expansion depending upon the requirements,
feasibility and receptivity of the local population.
Apart from these urjagrams, three experimental
reference urjagram projects have been taken up for
implementation, in Kalyanpura (Gujarat); Ramachanoi
Khalkapat (Orissa) and Idayanvillai (Tamil Nadu). The
feedback from these projects will serve as input to more
effective planning and implementation of urjagrams.
Another reference urjagram project has also been taken up
recently for a typical hilly village in Himachal Pradesh.
Plan for 1993- 94
It is proposed to continue the programme with some
ininor modifications, and undertake 100 energy surveys
and 25 new urjagram projects, and also expand 25 old
urjagram projects during 1993- 94. A provision of Rs 25
lakhs has been made for the year 1993- 94 to support these
projects. 0
Energy demand in the rural domestic
Veena Joshi, Chandra Shekhar Sinha
Tata Energy Research Institute
Over the last three decades there has been a perceptible
change in the rural energy strategy in India. The ESI
(Energy Survey of India) Committee recommended a shift
from biofuels to kerosene and coal. The pivotal role
visualized for kerosene started to change in the seventies,
partially in response to the instability in the international
oil markets and limited recoverable reserves within the
country. The WGEP (Working Group on Energy Policy)
emphasized on the importance of biofuel supply aug-
mentation, increased efficiency of biofuel utilization
through improved cookstoves, and better deployment of
technologies such as biogas. Self-reliance in terms of
energy was the articulated objective. The ABE (Advisory
Board on Energy) and the EDSG (Energy Demand
Screening Group) echoed the recommendation of the
WGEP and the emphasis on commercial fuels for the rural
domestic sector was absent. Though the Eighth Plan
(1992-97) proposes to continue subsidies on kerosene, it
expresses concern at the growth in demand and the
consequent implications on the balance of payment
For an effective policy for the rural energy sector, the
magnitude of the demand has to be quantified and
projected over some reasonable planning period. The task
of aggregating energy demand and its forecasting in time
presupposes an understanding of the factors influencing
the energy demand. Additionally, it demands a
quantitative knowledge of the way these factors are likely
to change over the interval of the forecast. The qualitative
aspects of the rural energy consumption have been
documented and a large variation in biofuel use is evident
from literature. Inadequate quantitative understanding of
the factors responsible for the variation, however, makes
"the task of aggregating and forecasting demand extremely
Further, to analyse issues related to energy demand it
is important to distinguish the three elements of energy
demand: 1. volume effects or the changes in the energy
demand owing to the changes in the size of the economy
for which energy demand estimates are being made
20 + U R J A B H A R A T I
(which could include, but need not be restricted to, the
changes in the population); 2. structural changes, which
are changes in energy demand due to structural changes
within the economy for which the demand estimates
are being made; and 3. efficiency effects or the efficiency
with which energy is utilized within the economy.
While estimating energy demand in the rural domestic
sector, nearly all estimates have considered only
population changes as far as volume effects are concerned.
This is partly because there is very little evidence of a
correlation between energy consumption and income.
The lack of information on the structural changes and the
likely impacts of such changes on energy demand is even
more acute. For the time being inclusion of these effects
with any degree of accuracy appears unlikely. The same is
true for the efficiency effects. In the absence of an
understanding of the factors influencing energy demand,
, efforts in the past have essentially used estimates of per
capita energy demand and population.
It is also worthwhile to emphasize the distinction
between energy requirement and energy consumption. Often,
the two have been used synonymously in many of the
planning exercises in the past to estimate and project rural
energy demand. Most policies dealing with.rural energy
sector have used energy requirements though substantial
effort and progress has been made in attempting to
understand issues related to ruriu biofuel consumption.
Energy requirements in the rural
domestic sector
The major efforts in the last three decades for stipulating
the energy requirements have been made by the Energy
Survey of India Committee (1965), the Fuel Policy
Committee (1974), the Working Group on Energy Policy
(1979), the Advisory Board on Energy (1985), and the
Energy Demand Screening Group Report (1986). Some of
main features of these attempts are as follows.
All studies, except the ABE, relied on energy
requirement levels recommended by the ESI (of 510
kCal or 2.13 MJ per capita daily). Therefore, the
different versions of the requirement estimates re-
flected nothing apart from changes in population. The
ESI based its recommendation on NCAER (National
Council for Applied Economic ' Research) surveys
conducted in 1958-60.
Though all requirement-estimate studies had access to
survey data at the state level, they appear to have used
national averages of the data, thereafter
disaggtegating the requirement at the state level.
Information on the regional variation in
was lost in the process. The difference in the estimates
of the aggregate requirement among states was due to
the difference in population.
The most crucial aspect of the energy policy and
technology options is the fuel mix for meeting the
energy requirement. None of the studies following the
ESI made any serious attempt to examine this issue.
There have been no attempts to look at the variation in
the mix of biofuets over time. The changing role of
commercial fuels has received some attention and the
proportion ofbiofuels has been assumed to be constant
over time in all studies. National average of the fuel
mix has often been used to estimate the state-wise
requirements of biofuels. Again, this led to loss of
information on the state level biofuel-mix.
To .the best of our knowledge, there is no empirical
evidence that the energy consumption has increased
with time. In fact thedifferent:ioundsofNSS (National
Sample Survey) data indicate more or less constant
consumption levels. All projections of requirements,
however, show the growth in the requirement over
time. Though there is evidence of a change in fuel-mix
over time (presumably related to availability of
particular biofuel), very little effort has been made in
these studies to capture this in the attempt to project
the requirements.
All studies to estimate requirement have made the
assumption that urban household energy
consumption is higher than the rural-starting with
the ESI to the EDSG. The difference in the ESI estimates
was marginal (the urban requirement was higher by 25
kcal (105 kJ) per capita daily) and were based on the
NCAER surveys of 1958--60. The 1978/79 survey of the
NCAER supports the earlier findings. Studies in the
past indicate that the urban levels of useful domestic
ener-gy consumption appear lower than or are
comparable to those indicated by the surveys for rural
areas. In light of this,.it appears difficult to explain the
common assumption of thes_e studies of higher urban
energy consumption.
Energy consumption in the rural
domestic sector
The emphasis on the normative nature or the energy
requirements, rather than energy consumption level needs in
all the macro level estimates need to be noted. In contrast,
substantial efforts to estimate energy consumption has
been largely ignored in the macro planning exercises of
the past. The WGEP had highlighted the absence of data
on biomass energy use. As a result the MNES. (Ministry of
Non-conventional Energy Sources), Planning Com:inis-
sion, the ABE, and various state energy development
agencies have commissioned a large number of studies
(MNES itself commissioned over 1500 village level
surveys) in different regions of the country.
Recently, under an MNES sponsored project data have
been compiled and analysed at the Tata Energy Research
Institute from the rural energy surveys conducted during
1985-92 in India to create a REDB (rural energy database)
and to identify regional variations in energy consumption
pattern. Studies in the past have indicated that agro-
climatic conditions are an important factor influencing
the use of biofuels in rural areas. Both, the level of biofucl
usc and the fuel-mix are believed to be influenced by the
Useful energy consumption and fuel mix
b 1200
" 800
: 600


200 11

Crop residue


3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
Agro-climalic region
V 0 l U M E 3 N U M B E R 3 + 21
Useful energy consumption and fuel mix in
different agro-climatic regions
Agro-climatic zone Per capita Fuel mix
useful energy fi rewood Dung-cake Crap
Western Himalayan zone 436
Eastern H,imalayapone 860
Lower zone 726
Middle Gangetic zone 397
Upper Gangetic zone 541
Trans Gangetic plains 440
Eastern plateau and hills 1264
Central plateau and hills 638
Western plateau and hills 562
Southern plateau and hills 697
East plains and hills 1393
West coast plains and ghats 426
Gujarat plains and hills
Western dry regions 448
All India 727
availability of different biofuels, which in turn, depends
on the agro-climatic conditions. Consequently, this study
post-stratified the biofuel consumption data according to
regions specified by the Planning
Commission. The major results of the study, based on the
analysis of the data compiled for 638 villages in 17 states
spread over 14 agro-climatic regions in the country and
covering over 39 000 households, are as follows.
The use of firewood is higher in inaccessible villages.
This is likely to be related to the higher availability of
woody biomass in such villages. In such villages the
cattle population in proportion to the human
population is also higher, and more households own
land but a lesser fraction of the agricultural land is
irrigated. Electrified vill!lges have better irrigation
facilities and lower cattle to human population ratio.
Electrified villages have higher average kerosene use.
There is a greater presence of agro-industries and
irrigation facilities in electrified villages. The
number of landless households \ in electrified
villages are higher indicating that economic dis-
parities may be higher in such villages.
The use of agricultural residue and d:ung-cake for
energy purposes depends on the level of firewood
. 3.04
0.87 ' 0.13
0.77. 0.07 0.15
0.45 0.25 0.30
0.39 0.34 0.26
0.19 0.79 0.03
0.30 0.43 0.27
0.93 0.00 0.07
0.52 0.34 0.14
0.59 0.10 0.31
0.47 0.12 0.41
0.45 0.21 0.34
0.78 0.12 0.10
0.62 0.16 0.22
0,45 0.45 0.10
0.59 0.18 0.23
used. The greater the firewood use, the less is the use
of these 'safety-net' fuels. The preference for firewood
as a energy source is clear from the data. In villages
with higher fraction of agricultural land under
irrigation, the dung-cake use for cooking is higher.
The energy consumption indicated by the survey
reports collated. are much higher than those indicated
by previous studies. The all India averages of the
estimated useful energy consumption is a little over
725 .kCal (3.04 MJ) per capita daily. The nonnative
recommended useful energy requirement has been in
the range of 510 kCal or 2.13 MJ to 620 kCal or 2.6 MJ per
capita per day.
Though consumptions are high, there is a wide
variation in energy use, both within and among agro-
climatic regions. The daily per capita useful energy
consumed varies between 397 kCal (1.66 MJ) and over
13WkCal (5.83 MJ) for Middle Gangetic, and East coast
plains and hill zones, respectively. Even within agro-
climatic zones the variation is high.
Biofuels play a dominant role in the rural energy
system. Within biofuels, firewood is the main fuel
though its contribution among biofuels varies from
barely 20% to over 90% in Upper Gangetic plains and
Eastern plateau and hills.
The fuel mix at country aggregate level is close to past
assumptions made by the different studies (ESI 1965;
WGEP 1979; ABE 1985; EDSG 1986) and are close to
those indicated by the NCAER survey (NCAER 1985).
However, at disaggregated levels such as the district or
state levels there are significant variations due to
heterogeneity in the fuel among agro- climatic regions,
which would result in substantial differences in the
estimates of aggregate demand.
Estimates of aggregate biofuel consumption
The useful energy consumption fulfilled by the biofuels in
the rural domestic sector according to the REDB estimates
is summarised in the table provided. The national
aggregated average useful energy consumption from
biofuels alone is over 725 kCal/pc/d (about 3 MJ/pc/d)
but, as emphasized earlier, there are significant variations
among the agro-dimatic regions.
In addition to the data obtained by village level surveys
sponsored by government agencies, the NCAER has
carried out large-scale surveys periodically. The domestic
fuel survey of 1979 of NCAER covering 13 010 sample
households spread over 18 states is the most prominent of
the recent surveys of the NCAER. The rural sample for this
survey was 7500 households selected from 300 districts in
600 villages.
The other notable source of rural energy consumption
data is the !REP (Integrated Rural Energy Planning)
exercise of the Planning Commission. This programme
attempts to prepare and implement block level energy
intervention plans and uses sample surveys for
determining energy patterns as a part of this
exercise. Initiated during the Sixth Plan period (1980- 85)
on a pilot basis, this programme has since covered nearly
The REDB and IREP data are available for the different
agro-climatic regions in India. The published NCAER
data, on the other hand, are restricted to state level
averages. On the other hand, normative levels of energy
requirement are based on estimates of ABE, ESI and
EDSG. The most obvious feature of the different estimates
is the wide variation. The biofuel requirements for the
recommended normative energy levels is in the range of
150-240 million tonnes/year of firewood, 40-65 million
tonnes/year of animal waste, and 47-76 million tonnes/
year of agriculture residues. Aggregate demands based
on surveys are in the range of 93-252 million tonnes/ year
of firewood, 54-107 million tonnes/ year of animal waste,
and 36-99 million tonnes/year of agriculture residues.
The national aggregates listed seem to give the
impression that the REDB estimates are consistently
higher. The state-wise aggregates presented indicate that
there is no such clear pattern. The REDB estimates for fire-
wood are higher largely due to the higher consumption in
the states of Andhra Pradesl;l, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa,
Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. IREP estimates for
firewood, on the other hand, are higher for the states of
Gujarat, Kerala and Uttar Pradesh. Similarly, dung-cake
estimates of NCAER for Bihar and Madhya Pradesh are
higher than either the IREP or the REDB estimates.
Some of the likely reasons for these and the possible
ways that a more consistent demand estimates can be
made are as given on the following page.
National aggregates of biofr.lel use in rural domestic sector
1991 estimates based on population census (GOI 1992)
Firewood Dung-cake Agriculture residues
(million tjyear) (million tfyear) (million t/year)
NCAER 93.3 83.2 36.7
REDB(low) 181.3 40.1 31.6
REDB (average) 252.1 106.9 99.2
REDB(high) 309.4 114.5 165.5
IREP 169.0 54.2 62.8
ESI (510 kcal/per capita/day or
2.13 MJ/per capita/day) 151.3 41.5 47.8
EDSG (520 kcal/per capita/ day or
2.18 MJ/per capita/day) 201.7 55.3 63.7
ABE (620 kcal/per capita/ day of
2.60 MJ I per capita/ day) 240.5 65.9 76.0
V 0 L U M E 3 N U M B E R 3 + 23
State-wise aggregates of biofuel use in rural domestic sector
1991 estimates based on population census (GOI 1992)
State Firewood Dung-cake Agriculture residues
(million t/year) (million t/year) (milliont/year)
Average Average Average
Andhra Pradesh 23.2 10.8 9 . 7 ~
Arunachal Pradesh 0.5 0.5 0.09
Assam 13.7 12.3 2.26
Bihar 34.1 26.9 8.90
Goa 0.0 0.0 0.08
Gujarat 8.6 9.1 3.99
Haryana 1.7 1.7 0.61
Himachal Pradesh 1.8 3.3 2.23
Karnataka 10.6 8.3 6.74
Kerala 7.4 10.0 3.19
Madhya Pradesh 32.6 13.1 8.68
Maharashtra 20.0 16.0 5.45
Manipur 0.9 0.8 0.37
Meghalaya 1.0 0.9 0.40
Mizoram 0.3 0.2 0.10
Nagaland 0.7 0.6 0.28
Orissa 26.0 11.2 4.56
Punjab 1.9 1.9 1.31
Rajasthan 9.8 4.3 7.05
Sikkim 0.3 0.2 0.04
Tami!Nadu 17.9 8.5 6.31
Tripura 1.6 1.4 0.66
Uttar Pradesh 16.6 21.9 15.56
West Bengal 20.3 4.4 4.52
Union territories 0.4 0.4 0.16
All India 252.1 169.0 93.3
NCAER data refer to the base period of 1979 whereas
the IREP and REDB data are from the period 1985-91.
Superficially, it would appear that biofuel use in rural
areas has increased over time as NCAER estimates are
consistently lower than either IREP or REDB data.
However, the reason for this has to do more with the
difference in the nature of data; NCAER results are
averages aggregated at st"te level while both, IREP
and REDB averages are agro-climatic zone
aggregates. The relative closeness of IREP and REDB
estimates suggest that there is a need to recast NCAER
data according to agro-climatic regions which would
require di5trict-wise classification of the surveys.
Experience shows that-variations in the biofuel use is
an inherent characteristic of energy systems based on
biomass even within a agro-climatic region. The need
for an operational classification of agro-climatic
24 + U R ) A B H A R A T I
. 3.0
2.9 2.26 18.6 3.6 1.75
0.0 0.00 0.1 0.0 0.06
0.0 0.00 2.7 0.0 1.46
9.9 19.89 7.8 13.0 5.99
0.0 0.06 0.0 0.0 0.01
2.2 .
2.47 3.0 3.0 0.23
2.9 3.14 1.5 4.3 0.96
0.4 O.Q3 0.0 0.2 0.00
1.8 0.27 7.8 3.2 1.62
0.0 0.00 1.0 1.6 1.78
1.8 9.62 5.7 1.5 2.32
6.7 4.32 7.6 5.8 0.70
0.0 0.00 0.2 0.0 0.11
0.0 0.00
0.2 0.0 0.12
0.0 .
0.00 0.1 0.0 0.03
.Q.O 0.00 0.1 0.0 0.08
0.6 3.33 7.6 0.4 0.76
3.4 2.99 1.8 5.0 1.63
2.1 4.76 2.8 0.8 0.51
0.0 0.00 0.1 .o.o O.D3
2.0 1.49 13.9 2.5 1.49
0.0 o.oo 0.3 0.0 0.20
17.2 23.50 5.6 17.3 6.98
0.0 4.85 10.5 0.0 7.74-
0.3 0.22 0.3 0.4 0.10
54.2 83.2 99.2 62.8 36.7
regions makes it impossible to encompass all factors
which may influence biofuel consumption, parti-
cularly because the classification was developed for
planning agricultural development. There is, there-
fore, a need to specify the statistical variation in data
collected through surveys and use these in making
demand estimates to make different estimates
If the premise of the inherent variation in the biofuel
use is accepted, there is a need to club all possible data
and to thereafter estimate the mean values along with
measures of the variation. Collating data just from
these three (NCAER, IREP and REDB) sources would
result in a much richer database covering at least 3000
villages. 0
Improved chulha programme: alleviating fuel
crisis and uplifting quality of rural life
D J( Mittal
Ministry of Non-conventional Energy Sources
In India, rural areas account for about 40% of the total
energy consumed. Of this, 55% to 60% is used for cooking
and other applications in the domestic sector. Bulk of this
energy demand is met by non-commercial energy sources
such as firewood, crop residues and animal wastes.
But availability of biofuels in rural areas is becoming
progressively difficult owing to rapid degradation of the
natural resource base. Moreover, inefficient utilization of
biofuels has resulted in serious health impacts especially
on women and children. So it is imperative that traditional
and inefficient chulhas are replaced by more fuel efficient
devices with a view to conserve fuelwood; to improve
health and hygienic conditions; reduce drudgery for
women and children; and to improve the overall quality of
life. In this context, promotion of fuel-efficient, smokeless
cooking devices [ICs (improved chulhas)] assume
considerable significance.
Apart from its qualitative benefits, ';ln IC consumes
much less fuel than a TC (traditional cookstove). The
thermal efficiency of traditional stoves ranges from 8% to
12% while an IC has a range of 20% to 50%. There are
different designs of ICs available in India and currently,
the minimum efficiency of a fixed IC is about 20% while
Rural domestic energy use pattern
the same figure for a portable IC model is 25%. Thus, a TC
consumes 2000-2500 kg of wood per annum for an
average family while the IC consumes 1000-1500 kg. This
means half the fuel consumption compared to a
traditional stove. If a lower average figure of 700 kg of
wood (valued at Rs 400) is taken as savings per annum,
the average cost of Rs 100 for an IC could be recovered in
just three months of operation; a fixed chulha has an
average life of three years and a portable chulha fi ve ysars.
Objectives of NPIC
Fuel conservation
Removal/reduction of smokefrom
the kitchen
Check on deforestation and
environmental upgradation
Reduction in the drudgery of cooking in
smoky kitchens and collection of more fuel
Reduction in health hazards
Reduction in cooking time
Employment opportunity to the rural poor
National Programme for Improved
Chulha (NPIC)
The NPIC first began in 1983 as a demonstration
programme and later became a national dissemination
programme in 1985. MNES (Ministry of Non-
conventional Energy Sources) has adopted a multi-
agency, multi-model approach for implementation of the
programme. NPIC is an important component of the
national . development programmes, such as 20-Point
Programme and Minimum Needs Programme, and
various state level rural development projects. A number
of governmental and noi\"governmental organizations
are involved in the implementation of NPIC.
The programme is targetted to cover beneficiaries in
rural, semi-urban and urban areas. However, due
preference has been given to the beneficiaries belonging to
V 0 L U M E 3 N U M B E R 3 25
SC/ST categories and those living in hilly regions, areas
experiencing serious deforestation, North-eastern region,
far flung areas and urban slums. Community kitchens in
hospitals, hostels, military and para military stations,
religious and charitable institutions, dhabas, hotels, etc.
are also being covered under the NPIC.
Self employed workers (SEWs), usually rural women
and unemployed youth, are involved in the installation of
ICs in rural households. These are engaged on a contract
basis by implementing agencies, which give them
incentives and provide training in motivation and
construction. SEWs are responsible for actual installation,
repair and maintenance for one year, users' education,
and rectification of old chulhas.
Financial assistance/incentives
The following financial assistance and incentives are
provided for various activities of the NPIC.
1. To beneficiaries (subsidy on cost)
Type of
Rs 25-103
Rs 75-188
Approved unit cost
minus beneficiary's
minimum contribution
of Rs 5 (maximum
assistance of Rs 50)
50% for general category
(maximum assistance of
Rs 50) and 75% for
SC/ST /Hilly areas
(maximum assistance of
Rs 75)
2. To self employed workers (for installation)
Fixed Rs 10 per chulha
for plain areas
Rs 15 per chulha for hilly
areas/ difficult terrain
Portable Rs 5 per chulha
3. To implementing agencies
Type of activity
support to states/ agencies
Transport and handling charges
For publicity and awareness
For users' education
Rs 5 per chulha
Rs 4 per chulha
Rs 2 per chulha
Re 1 per chulha
Apart from these, some fisca1 incentives provided for
manufacturers of portable chulhas are: (1) no industrial
licensing required, (2) excise duty exemption, (3)
exemption on sales tax, (4) relief under Income Tax Act,
and (5) soft term loan from financial institutions.
Agencies involved in NPIC
State Government Departments
Non-conventional Energy Development
State Agro Industries Development
Khadi Village and Industries Commission
National Dairy Development Board
Women Organizations (AIWC, SEWA, etc.)
Other NGOs
Types of improved chulhas
NPIC has provision for installation of fixed or portable
. chulhas depending upon the requirements of the
beneficiaries. Whereas fixed models of chulhas are
constructed in the household kitchens using locally
available material by SEWs, the portable chulhas are
manufactured by small-scale industries and are
distributed to the beneficiaries. ICs are available for
domestic, community, institutional and commercial
Types of ICs
Mud fixed chulhas with or without chimney
Mud-clad pottery lined, fixed chulha with
or without chimney
Portable metallic chulha
Portable metal-clad-ceramic lined chulha
Portable chulhas with separate hood
chimney system
Training programmes
Various types of training programmes are organized
under the National Programme for Self Employed
Workers, potters, rural artisans, beneficiaries, and various
fi eld functionaries. The orientation/ exposure
programmes are also conducted for the officers of the
:;:;:;:;;;:;:;:;:;:;:::::;:::::::;:::;:::;:;:::::;:;:;:;:::;:::;:;:;:;:::;:;:::::::::::;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:::::::;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:::::;:;:;:::::::::;:;:;:::::::::;:; ::;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:::::::;:;:;:::::;:;:;:;:;:;:;:::::: ;:;:;:: ::::::::;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:::;:::::::::;:;:::;:;:: ; : ; : ; : ; : ; : ; : ; : ; ~ : ; : ; : ; : ; : ; : ; : : : : : : : : : ; : ; : ; : ; : ; : ; : ; : ; : ; : ; : ; : ; : ; : ; : ; : ; : ; : ; : ; : ; : : : ; : : : : : ; : ; : ; : ; : ; : ; : ; : ; : ; : ; : : : ; : : : : : : : ; : : : ; : : : : : ; : ; : ; : : : ; : ; : ; : : : : : : : : : ; : ; : : : : : : : : : : : : : ; : ; : ; : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : ; : ; : ; : ; : ~ ; : ; ::::::;:::;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;::::::
26 + U R J A B H A R A T I
implementing agencies at the field level. Most of the
training activity is co-ordinated by the TBUs (Technical
Backup Units) established under NPIC. These
programmes are organized in a decentralized manner at
state, divisional, district and village levels. Basic
principles involved in the chulha technology as well as the
awareness aspect of the be11eficiaries and evaluation of the
programme are covered in these training programmes.
R&D and technical support
A network of 20 TBUs has been created under NPIC for
providing technical and training inputs in addition to
R&D (research and development) work. The major thrust
areas for R&D in chulhas are development of high efficient
metal-clad-ceramic lined chulhas (40-50% efficiency); and
reduction in unit cost through innovative design and
alternative materials.
Publicity for education, awareness and motivation
In order to create awareness about the benefits of ICs, a
mass publicity programme has been undertaken through
the electronic and print media, and radio at the central
level. The state implementing agencies are also taking up
such campaigns through the regional centres of
Doordarshan, AIR and regional press. Users' training
programmes, demonstration camps are also organized
through SEWs. Decentralized publicity through posters,
audio-visual aids and other traditional methods are also
undertaken. Training manuals, leaflets and video
cassettes of films on chulhas have also been provided to the
implementing agencies.
Under the Promotional Incentive Scheme of MNES,
shields and certificates of appreciation are awarded to the
states/UTs excelling in the implementation of the pro-
gramme. Additional cash prizes and certificates are given
by implementing nodal agencies to field functionaries.
Progress' un(,ler NPIC (cumulative)
(in lakhs)
1--s- Achievement -+-- Tor get
~ 80
1983-85 1985-8& 198&- 87 1987-88 1988- 89 19 89 - 90 19 90 - 91 1991-92
Functions of TB Us
R&D including development of appro-
priate models according to local needs
Training to self employed workers,
potters, village artisans and.various
field functionaries
Demonstration-adoption of villages for
demonstration and field trials of
various technologies developed
Decentralized testing and approval of
Progress and potential
Since its inception nearly ten years ago, more than 12.5
tp.illion ICs have been installed all over the country, nearly
one-tenth of the total rural households. This represents a
coverage of 20 ICs per 1000 of rural population. Uttar
Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra
Pradesh are some of the leading states in terms of
Potentially, all the 120 ,-nillion-odd rural households
are targets for installing ICs. One-fourth of the potential is
proposed to be realized by 1997 and hence, the target for
Eighth Plan (1992- 97) has been fixed at 30 million ICs.
Evaluation and feedback
MNES has a multi-step evaluation procedure to obtain
feedback on the field performance of ICs. These studies
are carried out by the implementing agencies, regional
MNES offices, independent agencies, and the MNES itself.
An independent evaluation study of NPIC was
recently conducted by the NCAER (National Council of
Applied Economic Research). This . study reported an
average functional rate of 60.3% for the ICs installed
between 1988 and 1991. Another study by NCAER found
86.2% functional rate for ICs installed during 1991-92.
These studies made the following major observations.
Functionality of chulhas is improving every year
because of technological improvements
Success rate of old chulhas is low as these have finite life
Nearly 20% of non-working chulhas reported to be
existing can be put back to use by repair and
The fixed and portable chulhas are 1.4 and 1.5 times
more efficient, respectively than the traditional chulhas
V 0 L -U M E 3 N U M B E R 3 + 2 7
Strategy for the future
In order to extend the benefits of ICs to
maximum population, and to improve
the performance of NPIC, MNES has
devised a strategy with thrust on the
A portable type A fixed type (cross-section)
following elements. 1. Increased
financial allocations by the Central
Government to cater to subsidy
requirement for the higher numbers.
2. Development of low cost models.
3. Implementing agencies to give due l oppl
preference to users' choice in selection of
models. 4. Increased emphasis.on users'
training for Optimum fuel use and
'maintenance;- 5. Wider publicity for
awareness among the rural masses.
6. Greater involvement of non-
governmental voluntary organi-
zations/agencies. 7. Propagation
through market forces; marketing
promotion by manufacturers of portable
chulhas coupled with quality assurance
through BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) marking.
8. Rationalization of incentives for manufacturers-fiscal
reliefs and soft loan financing through IRED A.
Performance of ICs (NCAER Study)


1988/ 89 1990/91
(In use) Working(not in use) Dismonllod
Aver age
While the objectives of NPIC are quite laudable and its
benefits should readily realized by the rural and semi-
urban households, paradoxically, the coverage so far has
been limited to a small fraction of th'e potential house-
holds. The users' large scale acceptance and rush for adop-
tion ofiCs on their own volition, without any government
28 + U R J A 8 H A R A T I
support, is yet to become a ground reality. While the
subsidies could be justified to some extent on the basis of
environmental and socio-economic for the rural
poor, the complexities in administering subsidy
have limited the implementation of programme
to mainly state government/ nodal agencies, and
the market forces have not come into full play in
the arena.
Thus, although, the programme is yet to come
out of the 'subsidy trap', a progressive step has
been taken during the year 1992- 93 to de-
regulate the price controls earlier exercised from
one central level for the whole country; to
decentralize R&D effort to state level as per local
requirements; and to limit the maximum
permissible subsidy in absolute terms. This
would lead to greater involvement of the
beneficiaries and also generate an impulse for
cost reduction. The shift towards commer-
.cialization of the programme may be gradually
speeded up with phased rationalization of
government subsidies, and emergence of
market forces to take care of the market promotion effort
so very essential for large scale spread, coupled with
intensive publicity and awareness campaigns by the gov-
ernment in the electronic and print media for the targeted
group of beneficiaries. Such direction would surely help
the individuals as well as the society at large. 0
Improved chulhas for fuel conservation
One of the conservation measures adopted by many
developing countries to counter the mounting scarcity of
fuel wood is the promotion of fuel-efficient ICs (improved
In addition, ICs can also help reduce pollution in
the kitchens, and increase convenience by saving time
spent in cooking and fuel collection. To promote this
multi-purpose technology, a National Programme on
Improved Chulhas (NPIC) was initiated in 1983 by the then
DNES <pepartment of Non-conventional Energy
Sources). By 1991- 92 more than 12 million improved
chulhas have been installed in various parts of the country.
Golti in West Bengal was one such village where ICs were
installed. The performance of ICs in this village was
studied in an MNES-sponsored evaluation carried out by
TERI (Tata Energy Research Institute).
Golti is a remote village in the lllambazar block of
Birbhum district, West Bengal, connected only by a
unmetalled road which makes the village inaccessible in
monsoons. The village has about 80 households, 53% of
which is land owners possessing about 100 acres of
cultivable land. Staple diet of the consists of rice,
vegetables, and fish. The major household fuels used in
An IC installed outside the house, conforming to the
tradition of open air cooking
the village are fuel wood, leaves, and coal. Whereas leaves
and fuelwood were collected as well as purchased, coal
was mostly purchased. The source of fuelwood was a
forest situated eight kilometres away from the village.
Thus, fuel gathering became burdensome, especially in
the monsoons.
In West Bengal, ICs were promoted through the
Anganwadi scheme under the overall co-ordination of the
Department of Social Welfare. Village level
implementation was done by Anganwadi workers in terms
of identifying and motivating the potential bene-ficiaries.
A total of 65 ICs were installed in Golti during 1986-87 by
trained masons, some of them from the village itself. Tlre
stove-model installed was an underground model known
as Seva-Nada which consists of two pot-holes, a round
baffle alot:l&. with an AC pipe for chimney.
After a year, nearly ha)f the ICs were still in operation.
While the design of three chulhas was modified, the other
models retained their original design. Given the. short life
of chulhas, this should be considered a good rate of
survival. In fact, most of the stov.es became quickly
dysfunctional as they were constructed outside the
kitchen conforming to the local tradition of open-air
cooking, and hence, were demolished or discarded.
Close up of an improved chulha without the. baffle, installed in a kitchen
V 0 l U M E 3 N U M B E R 3 + 29
CASE STUDY continued
Improved and traditional chulhas--"-a comparison
6 0 ~ - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ~
-=;- 50
., 45
-i; 40
a. 25
:g 20
~ 15
1-a- IC -+- TC
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
Chulho serial number
However, the KPT (Kitchen Performance Test)
conducted on the functioning of improved as well as :res
(traditional chulhas) in the village presented interesting
results. These tests measured the actual quantity of fuel
consumed on a daily basis for both types of chulhas in
select households. Results obtained showed that there
was a wide variation in the energy consumed across
households. However, this variation was more marked in
ICs than in TCs, especially in the range of maximum fuel
consumption, indicating the correlation between proper
installation of IC and its performance. But on the whole,
ICs performed better with their average daily (per capita)
energy consumption being 27.4 MJ whereas the same for
the TCs was 34.2 MJ. The fuel saving of ICs over TCs was
The reaction of the villagers towards the functioning
cookstoves was positive. Most housewives considered
freedom from smoke to be the best benefit of ICs, though
they could not accurately perceive the fuel savings. One of
the important suggestions made by the users was that a
chulha design should be developed which would be
suitable for making 'mood( (puffed rice) one of the major
activities in that area. A section of the beneficiaries,
however, liked it for cooking rice and similar food items.
Thus, the IC programme in Golti village demonstrated
providing convenience in the rural areas. At the same
time, it also emphasized the need to tailor the stove
designs to users' requirements, and to provide better
training to the masons as well as users for constructing
and maintaining these cookstoves. 0
PM Sadaphal, R C Pal, Veena Joshi
Tata Energy Research Institute
\ the potential of improved chulhas for saving fuel and
30 + U R J A B H A R A T I
Household fuels and healtl1
](irk R Smith
East-West Center, Honolulu, Hawaii
Biomass fuels in India (wood, crop residues and dung) are
mostly not bought and sold in cemmercial markets, and
therefore, are largely overlooked in descriptions of the
nation's energy situation. Perhaps this helps explain why
the air pollution created by biofuel combustion has also
often been ignored. But in fact, fuels actually account
for some one-third of the total energy used in India, being
the most important fuel for over 90% of rural households
and 15% of urban households. Thus, environmental
impact of biofuel burning is one aspect that needs special
attention in any rural energy policy.
In recent years, however, has been growing
international concern about the potential health impact of
indoor air pollution from biofuel use. This concern is not
so much because the total air pollution emissions from
biofuels are large; they are not, compared to air pollution
from fossil fuels, for example.
Unlike most other fuels,
concern. Indeed, for wood fires bigger than a few
kilograms per hour, boilers and other devices can be
designed to bum fai rly cleanly. It is perhaps an unkind
trick of nature, however, that the size of human families is
such that household cooking and heating stoves require
biofuel fires of a few-kilograms or less per hour. At this
scale it is difficult to make low-cost devices that reliably
give clean combustion.
In the last decade, a handful of studies have attempted
to characterize human exposures in rural India. They arc
far too few to enable an estimate of the national totals, but
do give an idea of typical conditions in several regions.
The results are often high compared to Indian standards
and WHO(World Health Organization) recommen-
dations, as well as to outdoor pollution in Indian cities.
What health effects might be expec.ted from such
exposures? Based . on studies in
developed countries of similar,
however, biofuel pollutants are
largely released directly where
the people are-inside or near
households at mealtimes every
day. Thus, although the emissions
are relatively modest, the actual
exposure to people is significant in
many millions of households
around the world. Indeed, for
The World Bank's World Development
Report (1992) classified indoor air pollution
as one of the four most important
environmental problems in the world,
with contaminated water, urban air
pollution, and deforestation.
but not identical mixtures of
pollutants, several are suspected:
respiratory infections in children;
chronic lung diseases and lung
cancer in adults; and adverse
pregnancy outcomes, such as low
birth weight and stillbirth, for
women exposed during
some important pollutants, rural
indoor environments add much more to total human
exposure than do urban.outdoor environments, where
most air pollution measurements and regulations have
focused in all countries.
Not every biofuel stove emits high levels of pollution
indoors in poorly ventilated households. In India,
households in the South tend to be better ventilated than
in other areas and studies seem to show that exposures are
correspondingly less. Many stoves incorporate some type
of chimney that conveys the smoke outdoors reducing
exposures. Stoves burning biofuels with no smoke at all
are more difficult to find, however. This is so, even though,
unlike coal, most biofuels themselves contain few
contaminants. Theoretically, therefore, they can be
burned such that essentially nothing is emitted except
water vapour and carbon dioxide, . neither of health
Acute respiratory infections
(ARI), often as pneumonia, are "the chief cause of death in
the world's children under the age of five. The WHO
estimates that at 4.3 million per year (95% in developing
countries), the death toll is more than 30% higher than that
for diarrhoea, the next largest category. In India, the
annual toll is about 644 000. Although treatable by
antibiotics if caught in time, the only satisfactory long-
term solution is to greatly reduce the risk factors, such as
malnutrition, crowding, and smoke. It is clear, for
example, that serious ARI declined in the presently
developed countries long before the discovery of effective
Several studies of biofuel smoke as an ARI risk factor
have been done in recent years, mostly in Africa which
generally confirm that exposure to smoke is statistically
associated with an increased risk of serious ARI. A child
V 0 l U ME 3 N U M BE R 3 + 31
Monitoring of pollutants during cooking in a village kitchen
exposed to smoke by living in a biofuel-using house seems
to be several times more likely to contract serious ARI. A
study in Nepal showed a correlation between the number
of hours spent at the stove each day (as reported by the
m o t ~ e r ) and the risk of serious ARI.
An interesting study has also been done in Ladakh
where women's lung capacities were found to be directly
related to the extent of exposure determined by analysing
people's exhaled air. As might be expected in this high-
altitude environment, both the poilu tion levels and the ill
effects were substantially worse in the winter than the
Chronic lung diseases and its corollary heart disease,
cor pulmonale, are also common in north India, and in
many areas, are found more among women even though
they smoke much less than men. This has also been
attributed to biomass cooking by a number of
investigators, although the long delay between exposure
and the appearance of effects makes quantitative
judgement difficult. Autopsies have identified damage
and deposits of material in the lungs of Kashmiris and
others living in particul.arly smoky situations.
A set of studies dcme near Chand-igarh has found blood
levels of carbon mqnoxide to be as high or higher among
women shortly after cooking with biomass than among
heavy smokers. These levels were elevated, but not by
nearly as much, in women cooking with kerosene.
A study of about 2000 births in Ahmedabad examined
several risk faGtors for low birth weight, stillbirths, and
32 + U R J A B H A R A T I
'infant deaths. After adjustment for such factors as the
mother's educat.ion, caste, and place or residence, it was
found that the babies of women exposed to cooking smoke
during pregnancy were about 50% more likely to be
stillborn. No significant effect was found for the two other
types of ill effects.
There are basically four kinds of measures that might be
taken to reduce the exposure frortt biomass cooking fuels:
cleaner fuels, better stoves, enhanced ventilation, and
behaviour modification (for example encouraging a
custom whereby pregnant women are responsible for less
cooking). Smokelesschulhas and better kitchen ventilation
offer the best solution in the short run- India already has
a major national programme to promote improved
chulhas. In-the long term, however, cleaner fuels, perhaps
made from biomass, will be needed to reduce exposures
to acceptable levels. 0
National Project on Biogas Development
Venkata Ramana P
Tata Energy. Research Institute
Biogas is a versatile fuel which can be u s ~ d for cooking,
lighting, motive power and generation of electricity.
Though India's interest in biogas technology is nearly a
century old, the dissemination of biogas plants began in
real earnest only in 1981 when the central government
had launched the NPBD (National Project on Biogas
Development) under the aegis of the Ministry of
Agriculture with an outlay of Rs 50 crores, which was
subsequently transferred to the then Department of Non-
conventional Energy Sources. Today, NPBD is one of the
most important renewable energy programmes of MNES
(Ministry of Non-conventional Energy Sources) in the
rural areas.
Objectives of National Project on Biogas
To provide energy in a clean, !fnpolluted form
To make available enriched fertilizer as a by-
product for supplementing and optimizing the
use of chemical fertilizers
To reduce pressure on dwindling fuelwood
supplies and prevent indiscriminate
To eliminate the smoke-filled cooking
environment, reduce drudgery, and prevent eye
To bring about an improvement in rural
A multi-model, multi-agency approach has been
adopted in NPBD to ensure installation of plants suited
to local conditions and to attract active participation of
NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations). In order to
disseminate biogas across all areas and classes, MNES
devised a differential subsidy pattern based on the
physical and economic disparities existing in the country.
A lead bank was nominated in each district to co-ordinate
the loan sanctioning activity with other banks and
institutions that would give loans to families which
satisfy the criteria of minimum number of cattle, land, etc.
Features of NPBD
MNES-approved models (KVIC, ]anata, Deenbandhu,
Ferro-cement, and Pragn.ti) are used in the project.
Recently, Swastik, a portable model made of flexi-
rubber is also being promoted in the hilly areas and
other difficult terrains.
State governments implement yearly targets through
nodal agencies at state and district levels.
Technical and training support is provided by the
regional biogas centres at Coimbatore, Udaipur,
Pusa-Samastipur, Palampur, Kharagpur, Indore,
Ghazipur, Hyderabad, Nasik, Anand, Jorhat,
Bhubaneshwar, Bangalore and Wardha.
Service charges are given at 5% of the average unit
cost of the plant to nodal and other implementing
agencies having a target up to 8000 plants and 2.5%
for those having a target of more than 8000 plants.
MNES provides subsidy to the individual owners
according to the pattern developed for different
regions. In addition, some state governments also .
provide subsidies. All the nationalized banks provide
soft loans to meet the non-subsidy part of the cost.
NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural
Development) provides automatic refinancing
facility to the banks. 1
Rs 400 is paid for each biogas plant constructed on a
turnkey basis against a guarantee of . two years
Rs 50 is paid per plant to the village level functionaries
who act as motivators and facilitators.
Under a rectification scheme, up toRs 1000 is given to
repair /revive the defective/ dysfunctional plants,
Special funds are disbursed to conduct trainers'
orientation courses, construction I training courses,
users' training courses, etc. Funds are also provided
for setting up demonstration plots using biogas slurry
Financial incentives are offered in the form of awards
of state governments, district and block officials for
V 0 L U M E 3 N U M B E R 3 + 33
Pattern of central subsidy for biogas plants (Amount in Rs)
Cgpacity of plant For NE Region Plain areas of For other areas Small and For all
(cubic metre of gas/day) states excluding Assam, terai region SCfSTand marginal others
plains of Assam Sikkim of two hilly districts desert districts farmers &
J&K, HP and eight hilly of UP, Western Ghats landless
districts of UP excluding and other notified labourers
Terai regions of two districts hilly areas and
A&N Islands
1 4000 2400 2000 2000 17QO
2 5100 3600 3100 3100 2200
3&4 6200 4300 3600 2600
Higher capacity plants continue to be promoted with bank loans.
achievements; additional turnkey fee for linking up
the plants to latrines; and, for publicity.
Under an all-India coordinated project, MNES
supports a set of R&D organizations to carry out
research in microbiological aspects of biogas
Performance of NPBD
Since its inception, NPBD has consistently met or
exceeded the set targets and by December 1 9 ~ 2 , nearly
1.67 million family biogas plants were installed in
different parts of the country, including remote places
such as Arunachal Pradesh, Andaman Islands, and Dadra
and Nagar Haveli. Among the states, Maharashtra and
Uttar Pradesh account for nearly 45% of the total plants.
The other leading states are Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Andhra
Pradesh and Karnataka.
In order to evaluate the performance of NPBD,
independent consultants were commissioned to conduct
evaluation surveys in 1985-86 and 1987-88, respectively.
These surveys covering the plants set up till 1986-87
reported an average functional rate of about 85%. The
biogas plants installed so far are estimated to save 5.27
million tonnes of fuel wood annually (in reduced energy
Installation of biogas plants (cumulative)
34 + U R 1 A B H A R A T I
No of blogas plants (millions)
198283 1984-811 1988-87
1988-89 199091 1992(0)
NPBD evaluation of biogas plants in selected states (%)
Functional plants
1985-86 1987- 88
Andhra Pradesh 93.6 92.9
Bihar 82.1 72.4
Gujarat .. "81.7
Haryana 79.4 96.7
Himachal Pradesh 100.0 92.2
Karnataka 86.1 94.1
Kerala 95.7 95.4
Madhya Pradesh 64.3 70.1
Maharashtra 93.0 92.5
Orissa 93.9 91.1
Punjab 96.6 92.9
Rajasthan .. 52.1
TamilNadu 88.1 92.8
Uttar Pradesh 77.0 60.6
West Bengal .. 89.2
Others 78.8
Model of KVIC biogas plant
Non-functional plants
Operational defects Structural defects
1987-88 1985-86 1987-88
5.3 1.8 1.8
23.8 15.3 3.8
11.2 . . 7.1
1.7 7.6 1.6
1.7 0 1.6
4.0 7.3 1.9
3.4 1.0 1.2
24.9 31.5 5.0
6.4 1.6 1.1
5.3 3.9 3.6
5.2 1.7 1.9
37.9 .. 10.0
4.9 5.4 2.3
27.6 17.8 11.8
5.6 .. 5.2
20.0 . . 1.2
demand) valued at Rs 264 crores, in addition to producing
25.3 million tonnes of enriched manure valued at Rs 160
crores. Thus, the total saving through biogas utilization is
over Rs 420 crores.
Future prospects
Ever since its en try into the rural areas, biogas has proved
to be a viable alternative to traditional biomass fuels.
However, a large potential remains to be tapped given the
fact that just over 1% of the total rural households have
been covered so far. Considering the vast resource of dung
available in the country, the total potential of biogas is
estimated to be in the range of 40 million family plants,
that is, one-third of the households. If dung is
supplemented with other biomass feedstocks, the
potential could be unlimited and the use can be extended
to other sectors such as small industries. In the Eighth
Plan, Rs 320 crores has been allocated for promotion of
biogas. Thus, after a decade of valuable experience, biogas
is poised to make a greater impact on the rural energy
scenario of India. 0
V 0 L U M E 3 N U M B E R 3 + 35
Success through co-operation: community
biogas plant at Methan
CBPs (community biogas plants) have been considered a
socially appropriate technology as they would facilitate
supply of energy to the weaker sections of the population.
Apart from the social benefits, CBPs are also credited with
the potential to act as nuclei for the economic
development of the villages. Village Methan is a success
story which demonstrates the virtue of co-operative
management in realizing the potential of CBPs.
Methan is an electrified village in Siddhpur taluk of
Mehsana district in northern Guja.r-at. It has 600
households with a population of about 400Q. The principal
occupation of the village is dairy farming and animal
husbandry. Another major source of income is the trade
with Bombay city wherein about 2000 stall-fed cattle are
transported every year to Bombay to supply milk, and are
brought back after they become dry. Owing to this
prosperous trade, most of the families in the village are
reasonably well off.
Biogas project
In the past, most households used fuelwood collected
from the shrubs around the village, and dung- cakes.
However, the success of the two family biogas plants
installed in the village, prompted the demand for a
community biogas plant. The successful model of milk
co-operative gave the confidence to manage such a
co-operative venture. After parleys with national and
state nodal agencies, their proposal was cleared by the
MNES (Ministry of Non-conventional Energy Sources).
The Gujarat Energy Development Agency (GEDA) took
up the project, and the initial assessment found sufficient
demand for gas as well as adequate availability of dung
and water. And in Apri11987, a 630 m' system, consi sting
of e.ight biogas digesters, was commissioned in Methan.
These systems were located at three corners of the village
so as to ensure uniform gas supply. The project cost of
Rs 19 lakhs was provided by MNES.
In order to manage the system, a registered society
named SJCS (Silver Jubilee Biogas Producers and
Distributors Cooperative Society) was established in
Methan with all the biogas beneficiary households as
36 + U R J A B H A R A T I
members who paid Rs 100 each as membership fee. In ad-
dition, a sum of Rs 301 each was collected as connection
fees which formed the capital base of the society.
Dung was supplied by the households and ca.ttleshed
owners on a daily basis who in return got the slurry man-
ure back on a pro rata basis. A tractor with trolley, pur-
chased from the funds ofthe society, made house-to house
collection of dung, and transported it to the plant site.
A view of the community biogas plant at Methan
System performance
Initially, about 15-16 tonnes of dung was fed into the plant
daily with 100% capacity utilization. This resulted in a
daily gas supply of 9-10 hours to the households, in the
morning, afternoon and evening. In recent years, the dung
input has gone down by nearly half owing to reduced
dung supply from the users but is still sufficient to provide
7-8 hours of gas supply in summer, and 5-6 hours in
winter. Currently, the total number of connections are 326
and the users are,charged a flat monthly rate of Rs 40.
Since its inception, the system has run more or less
continuously without any major problems. Whatever
minor problems that occur, are sorted out by the villagers
themselves with some training from GEDA. Financially,
too, the system has performed in a viable fashion right
CASE STUDY continued
from the start with a positive operational benefit-cost
ratio. The SJCS actually declared a 12% dividend for its
meml-ers in the first year itself.
Benefits from the project
One of the tangible benefits of the project has been the
removal of drudgery for the women who previously had
to collect fuel wood. And because of the smokelessness of
biogas, housewives have greatly benefited in improved
health and convenience.
Biogas slurry as manure is one factor that has greatly
impressed the villagers. The system yields about 2000
tonnes of nutrient-rich slurry, and most of the users
perceive increased crop production due to its use. The
other benefit that accrued has been the irrigation water
supplied from the tubewell set up at the plant site at a
nominal charge.
Following the community venture,s in milk and then
biogas, the villagers began other community activities;
setting up a Water Distribution Society to regulate the
water supply from the tubewell; getting sanction for a
metalled road; and upgradation of the village high school.
The SJCS also plans to enhance the capacity of the biogas
system to supply gas to the lower caste, poor families of
the village, at nominal rates.
Perhaps the most significant gain from the success of
the project is the high level of environmental awareness
generated in t h ~ villagers. A Health Committee in the.
village has been established to monitor water pollution
and take corrective steps whenever major problems are
detected .. Street lighting was provided by photovoltaic
systems which also illuminate the biogas plant sites.
Sewerage systems are planned to be installed by the
government in Methan with 50% cost being borne by the
Why is it a success?
Thus, Methan can be considered a success by any
measure. And that success could be attributed to the
following factors:
1. When the idea of biogas system was mooted the
conditions were suitable-felt need for a viable fuel;
abundant dung availability; and, a precedence of
successful co-operation.
2. Presence of a strong, progressive village leader who
exercised considerable influence in convincing the
people about the virtues of the project, and provided
necessary leadership in planning and management.
3. Cohesive nature of the village, with the majority
belonging to the same community with uniform
4. Diligent post-installation service provided byGEDA
in the initial period.
5. Running the system as a profit centre, and thus giving
a stake to the users in its well-being.
6. The total acceptance by the housewives, who are the
direct beneficiaries of the project. Their insistence
helped in promptly eliminating the minor problems
to keep the plant running smoothly.
The Methan experiment is a good example of successful
co-operative venture which has transformed a waste
biomass resource into an economically viable and
environmentally sound source of energy which is highly
beneficial to the community at large. It remains an
example worth emulating. 0
Venkata Ramana P
Tata Energy Research Institute
V 0 L U M E 3 N U M 8 E R 3 + 37
Biomass gasification
VV N Kishore
Tata Energy Research Institute
The growing scarcity and inefficient use of biofuels in the
developing countries, makes it imperative to identify
alternative and/ or efficient energy conversion routes for
biomass. Among the conversion routes, biomass
gasification is one of the most efficient and versatile.
Gasification process
Gasification is a thermochemical process in which fuel gas
is formed as a result of partial combustion of biomass (or
any organic material). The .process breaks down biomass
to yield gaseous products after an initial step of pyrolysis.
A variety of gasification methods are available, ranging
in size and sophistication, from simple units suitable for
running small engines to large capital-intensive plants
linked to facilities for the manufacture of liquid fuels and
chemicals. One basic distinction among types of
gasification techniques is the source of oxygen for the
conversion process. Air gasification is the simplest
method, producing a low-energy gas due to the dilution
effect of nitrogen in the air. This gas is well suited for direct
heating applications or for use in engines. When the
gasification process is carried out in presence of insuf-
ficient oxygen (or air), the process results in producer gas,
a mixture of carbon monoxide, methane and a significant
amount of hydrogen (in the case of biomass) along with
non-combustible gases, mainly nitrogen and traces of car-
bon dioxide. The presence of high levels of nitrogen (78%
in the inlet air) results in the low calorific value of the
resultant gaseous fuel.
Gasifier designs
Gasifier designs are of three main types: Up-draught,
Down-draught and Cross-draught, depending on the
way in which air is fed into the device. In each of these the
material is fed in from the top and as it gradually works its
way downwards through the gasifier, it is first dried and
then pyrolyzed by the heat from the hotter zones below.
Subsequently, in the combustion and reduction zones, oil
and char components are partially oxidized, releasing
heat and raising the temperattire. The remaining carbon
reacts with carbon dioxide and water to yield carbon mo-
noxide and hydrogen. The ash falls through a grate at the
bottom. Depending on the design, the hot gas is released
from either the side, the top, or the bottom of the unit.
The precise composition of the gas from an air gasifier
depends on the type of biomass used, the temperature and
rate of reaction. Typically, if wood is used as the feed, the
gas composition has 10% carbon dioxide, 20-22% carbon
monoxide, 12-15% hydrogen, 2-3% methane and 50-53%
nitrogen. The main advantage of gasification techniques is
that they enable solid biomass to be converted to a more
convenient and versatile fuel form with only a minor loss
of energy during the process. For many rural applications,
air gasification is the most suitable approach, and its
potential is tremendous. For industrial heating, equip-
ment using oil or natural gas can be easily modified to run
on producer gas, and overall conversion e f f i c ~ e n c i e s (up
to 70-80%) comparable to direct combustion can beach-
ieved. For large-scale power generation, the gas can be
Biomass briquettes: 1. coir pith, 2. corn stalk, 3. sawdust, 4. bajra stalk
38 + U R j A B H A R A T I
Select R&D demonstration projects of gasifiers in India sponsored by
Ministry of Non-conventional Energy Sources
Sardar Patel Renewable Energy Research Institute, Vallabh Vidyanagar: 20 kW
wood-based system in mechanical and electrical mode.
IndianlnstituteofScience, Bangalore: 5 kW system running on powdery biomass
such as rice husk, coir pith, and sawdust.
Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay: 15 kW rice husk-based system.
Kumbhchaur village, Pauri-Garhwal district, Uttar Pradesh: 5 kW lantana
camara (weed)-based system.
Hosahalli village, Tumkur district, Karnataka: 5 kW wood-based system
supplying electricity to the households.
Khamla Village, Betul district, Madhya Pradesh: 10 kW gasifier based milk
chilling plant.
Navodaya Vidyalaya, Tumkur district, Karnataka: 100 kW system for power
Fatehpur, Uttar Pradesh: 5 hp Stirling engine run on biomass to supply motive
power for drinking water supply.
Tat a Energy Research Institute, New Delhi: 10 k W multi-fuel, mobile gasifier for
mechanical and electrical applications.
Source: Annual Report, 1992-93, MNES
used as a fuel for both gas turbines and steam generators.
The highest potential for rural areas for producer gas
resulting from air gasification is for small-scale power
applications. The substitutability of producer gas for
diesel and petrol in IC (internal combustion) engines, and
the relative simplicity of its production makes producer
gas an attractive alternative wherever competitive fuels
are either scarce or expensive. Spark ignition (petrol) en-
gines can run entirely on producer gas but major
modifications and redesign are needed . to increase the
compression ratios before it can be used. For compression
ignition (diesel) engines very little modification is re-
quired, and is simpler of the two options. The gas is
asp ira ted into the cylinder of the engine by connecting the
suction side of the engine through the cooler-cleaner unit
of the gasifier. The engine sucks the mixture of air and
producer gas, which is compressed and ignited by a pilot
diesel spray. The process is initiated by a large number of
diesel droplets but later progresses as turbulent flames
propagate in the mixture of air and gaseous fuel. Up to
80% diesel can be substituted by this mode of operation of
the diesel e n g i n ~ f t e n called the DF (dual-fuel) mode as
both the fuels are used simultaneously.
The main obstacles for small-s.::ale gasifier-based
technologies are: (1) technology is still not well developed
with gasifier design procedures essentially based on
empirical principles; (2) the cost of operating such systems
is sensitive to the price of biomass, which shows a high
degree of regional variation, making the costs of energy
from gasifiers site specific; (3) gasifier costs can vary but in
labour intensive small-scale industry. the costs will be
lower; (4) an estimated one hour of maintenance per day
of operation is required for the gasifier and a significant
level of skill is required for the routine maintenance; and
(5) size and weight of the system limits mobile gasifier
operations and constrains fuel storage and feed. For this
reason the use of gasifiers for static power appli-cations
appears to be a more attractive option at present.
Some of the obstacles specific to the use of producer gas
in diesel engines are as follows.
Diesel replace-ment can vary from 40-80% under
actual field conditions hence expenses on diesel may
form a significant fraction of the variable cost.
V 0 L U M E 3 N U M B E R 3 + 39

There may be as much as 30% derating (loss of power)
in diesel engines operating in the DF mode depending
on the load, the calorific value of the gaseous fuel and
the provision for excess air in the engine.
Effective cooling and cleaning of the producer gas is
required. If not adequately cooled, the producer gas
being sucked into the cylinqer is insufficient, and
causes a loss of efficiency and misfiring. The tar in the
gas causes rapid deterioration of the lubricant oil,
resulting in the formation of phenolic compounds
which cause corrosion of the bearing surfaces leading
to depositions on the piston and rings. This may result
in sudden engine stoppage due to valve sticking.
Also, soot in the gas causes abrasion of the engine.
Both these factors may reduce the life of the engine
and necessitate greater maintenance requirement and
thus higher operation and maintenance costs.
Despite the shortcomings, gasifier-based systems can
compete with commercial and other alternative energy
sources, especially where biomass waste/by-products
have no other competing use.
From the analysis of the costs, the most attractive use of
gasifier systems appears to be for direct heat applications.
However, very little technology development has been
undertaken for this application and the technical viability
needs to be demonstrated.
When biomass is obtained free of cost, the cost of
electricity is marginally lower than the cost of electricity
from diesel engine operating in the independent mode
(about Rs 1.9 and 2/kWh, respectively). The costs are
comparable up to biomass costs of Re 0.35/kg, but the
. economics is sensitive to the capacity utilization factor.
Detailed cost analysis suggests that the combination of
small-sized gasifier for applications with low capacity
utilization factors (such as for irrigation) may not have
long-term economic viability even at the stage of full
commercial production. Thus, economic viability for
motive power and power generation is dependent on the
number of operating hours and availability of cheap
The first condition can be met by promoting gasifiers
for electric power generation, in higher capacity range,
typically 40-100 kW. The second condition can be met by
concentrating R&D efforts on gasification of waste
material such as rice husk, sawdust, grotindnut shell, com
cobs, and coconut husk. But it is possible that once a
particular biomass waste is in demand, the prices will be
raised by the producers. For example, large-scale usage of
rice husk boilers in Punjab, India has resulted in a
substantial increase in the price of rice husk in the state.
40 + U R j A B H A R A T I
Hence a strategy of utilizing the waste biomass in situ to
supplement or augment the power needs of the factory
producing the wastes itself would be a useful
development. A fine example of this phenomenon is ~ h e
use of bagasse for power generation in sugar mills. '
It is known that gasification of loose biomass is a
difficult task; the Chinese rice-husk gasifier now com-
mercially available in a few countries is an exception. The
other alternatives are FBG (fluidized bed gasification),
and briquetting and gasification in down-draught gasi-
fiers. FBG systems are still under R&D and not much data
are available on the performance, costs, etc. On the other
hand the process of briquetting (densification) and then
gasifying in a conventional or throatless down-draught
gasifiers seems technically feasible. Electricity costs by
this process works out lower than from diesel generation.
Thus, electricity generated by briquetting-gasification
process is likely to be the most promising area in the near
future. The capacity of briquetting machine will have an
important bearing on the overaU economics because the
capital costs would be higher for higher capacities. It is
imperative that briquetting technology be made
acceptable by a more intense R & D programme before or
in conjunction with gasifier development. 0
Multi-fuel, multi-purpose gasifier system to meet
rural energy needs
Though generators are convenient for power generation,
they use fossil fuels such as coal (for large capacities in-.
power plants) and diesel for small capacity and
decentralized power generation, which are becoming
increasingly scarce and costly. On the other hand, biomass
in the fonn of agricultural wastes such as groundnut
shells, mustard stalks, coir pith and coffee husk, and
industrial waste such as tobacco dust from cigarette
factory, bagasse from sugar factory, and herbal waste
from ayurvedic industry are available in surplus or as by-
products of industrial processes. Such biomass in the
dense briquetted form can either be used directly as fuel
instead of coal in chulhas anq furnaces or in the gasifier for
obtaining producer gas, which in turn can be used in
burners to supply process heat or for producing electricity
to save diesel in generator sets. Gasifier based system can
also solve the problem of waste disposal by utilizing
wastes as fuel.
Hence, the importance of gasification as a technology
for effective utilization of biomass residues need not be
over-emphasized. Barring a few high ash materials such
as rice husk and straw, several residues have similar
properties in relation to proximate analysis, calorific
value, ash content and devolatilization. Briquetting of
such materials can result in the production of fuel with a
uniform shape and size which can be gasified in a suitable
down-draft gasifier. Thus, the briquetting-gasification
route can be a potential means of generatingmotivepower
from several, if not all, biomass residues which can be
used to meet part of the rural energy demand. Further, the
briquettes obtained convert locally available loose
biomass into more compact and convenient form which
can be used in domestic chulhas or community chulhas in
place of wood, charcoal, etc.
TERI's gasification system
The Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI) has been
working on biomass gasification since 1983, and has
developed a down-draft throatless gasifier with low
specific gasification rate with emphasis on fuel and end-
use flexibility, in a project sponsored by the Ministry of
Non-conventional Energy Sources. It is an integrated
biomass gasifier system capable of utilizing several
biomass residues as fuel along with associated cooling
and cleaning train, fuel processing system and power
generating system. The system can be ~ s s e m b l e d on a
single trolley making the complete unit an independent
source of energy suitable for rural applications in remote
areas. One such unit, capable of handling 5 kW electric
load, was installed at village Dhanawas in Haryana in
April 1989 to produce biomass briquettes and provide
electricity to the village temple, and it is functioning
without any major problems. The salient features of this
gasifier system arc: (1) down-draft throatless design helps
in obtaining clean producer gas and allows smooth fuel
movement, (2) low specific gasification rate with smooth
fuel movement due to larger diameter, (3) continuous ash
removal system, s0 as to handle fuels with high ash
content, (4) low pressure drop across the gasifier system,
(5) higher reactor temperature ensures better quality of
gas with less tar content, (6) fuel bed agitator ensures
smooth fuel movement in continuous operation by avoid-
ing bridging in fuel bed, (7) ability to use different biomass
residues, and (8) a novel multi-stage gas cleaning and
cooling system, ensures effective performance; it is simple
in construction and requires negligible maintenance.
The down-draft throatless gasifier developed by TERI
CASE STUDY continued
Briquetting loose biomass
Briquetting is usually considered as an energy intensive operation. This is not true from the
point of view of overall energy balance in conjunction with electricity generation. Data from
various types of briquetting plants indicate a specific electricity consumption of about 0.1
kWh/kg for power briquetting i.e. only about 10% of electricity generated is consumed for
briquetting, because the specific electricity generation from gasifier based systems is known
to be about 1 kWh/kg. The energy consumption figures are even lower in the present system
owing to low density briquetting by screw extrusion method.
Mustard stalk briquettes obtained from the system were tried in Hara chulhas used to
slow-boil the milk in Haryana. The villagers were satisfied as these emit less smoke and burns
for a longer period compared to traditional cowdung cakes. These briquettes were also
supplied to nt?ilrby dhabas for trial testing. They burned quite well but very rapidly. For
chulhas in the dhabas, slow burning briquettes are preferable, which can be achieved by high
density briquettes with clay as binder material. At present, work is going on to try different
options such as charring the loose 1Mmass and then briquetting it or charring the briquettes.
TERI has developed a pyrolizer for charring the biomass before bri'quetting.
To make the gasifier system capable of using different
biomass fuels, a fuel processing system has been
developed to convert loose biomass into form.
This system consists of chopper, pulverizer, and
briquetting machine. The chopper and pulverizer are
used to reduce the length of biomass to 1- 2 mm. Then
adding cowdung or molasses as a binding material,
biomass is treated through a screw extruder type machine
to produce briquettes. These can be directly used as a fuel
in furnaces or as gasifier fuel to obtain producer gas.
All the of the briquetting- gasification system
namely, gasifier, cooling-cleaning train, diesel engine,
alternator, and briquetting machine are assembled on the
trolley, making the complete system as a stand-alone
source of motive pqwer which can be either used for
producing electricity or running any mechanical system,
such as irrigation pump, oil expeller, and flour mill. The
unit has been successfully tested.with fuels such as bajra
stalk, mustard stalk, sawdust, coir pith, groundnut shell,
and tobacco dust.
At present, a 7.5 kVA generator is connected to the
system and electricity thus obtained is being supplied to
the village temple. The system has now been working
smoothly for more than three years. The system perform-
ance has that, in a dual-fuel mode, it is possible to
replace almost 70-80% of diesel with producer gas.
42 + U R J A B H A R A T I
Diesel replacement in dual fuel inode operation
Oieul rulaetmnt t) 100 ,--____:.:,...-_ .:...;__ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ --,
80 r-:--


Lood (kW)
Thus; such an integrated biomass system
with fuel and end-use flexibility, as demonstrated by its
performance over the last three years, has considerable
potential in rural areas. As the whole system is mounted
on a mobile trolley, it can serve as a stand-alone source of
energy in remote areas for a variety of electricity and
process heat applications. Therefore, there is a need to ex-
pand the scope of present work to include larger capacity
systems for wider applications. This can go a long way in
improving the rural energy scenario in the country. 0
P Raman, Sanjay Mande, V V N Kishore
Tata Energy Research Institute
Solar photovoltaic programme in India
Suneel Deambi
Tata Energy Research Institute
Photovoltaic (PV) technology deals with the direct
continuous conversion of sunlight into useful electricity
through semi-conductor electronic processes. It is a con-
venient technique of generating electricity from the abun-
dantly available sunlight in an environmentally clean and
reliable manner. The existence of PV technology for over
a decade in India, has not only established a sound re-
search base and a promising industry, but has also found
several applications as well, especially in the rural areas.
Technology status
The first commercial PV cells in world were developed in
the fifties. Initially used in space applications, PV devices
penetrated consumer and commercial markets in the
eighties. PV modules with efficiencies ranging from 11%
to 17% are now commercially available, while
experimental cells have demonstrated laboratory
efficiencies as high as 34%. Likewise,the efficiencies of
BOS (balance-of-system}-inverters, batteries- have also
gone up. The world PV market now has a size of 58.6 MW.
The Indian PV technology programme originated in
1976. The capabilities of Indian PV industry stretch to
complete cell manufacture, module lamination and
system development. While the complete system
manufacturers are still limited, there are numerous local
industries employed in the BOS development.
Though higher input costs combined with duties and
taxes lead to a higher module price in India, certain
decentralized low capacity applications are still viable on
a life cycle cost basis. Scope for cost reduction in PV cells
may lie in utilizing full production capacity through
identification of new PV applications.
Dissemination programme
In India, the MNES (MinistryofNon-conventional Energy
Sources) formulates the policies and programmes for the
of R&D activities in photovoltaics also and
ensures their dissemination. The programmes are
implemented with the active co-operation of various
central and state government departments, state nodal
agencies and non-governmental agencies. For most of
these activities, the costs are shared between the central
and state agencies, whereby MNES pays for the cost of PV
modules and the state agency bears the expenditure on
BOS and local works. Provision has been made by the REC
(Rural Electrification Corporation) to allow the state
electricity boards to make use of REC loan funds for PV
based electrification. In some cases, the specific state
agency secures a contribution from the beneficiary. This
contribution varies from state to state and is usually
10-25% of the total cost.
BOS is usually procured by these agencies through
normal tendering procedures. Turnkey contracts
especially for the PV plants and the large-scale
installations are executed by private firms offering good
capabilities. Overall co-ordination of the entire PV
programme is done by MNES.
In the rural areas, PV technology has found several
applications including pumping of drinking water, minor
irrigation, domestic lighting, street lighting, lighting for
community installations (e.g. television), remote
microwave communication relays and microwave
repeater stations, and refrigeration. Till date, more than
40 000 such systems have been installed in Inqia.
Domestic lighting units used in remote locations are of
three types-fixed domestic lighting, portable lighting,
and street lighting. Fixed domestic lighting unit
comprises a single module, CFLs (compact
fluorescent lamps) of 7 Wand controls, and costs about
Rs 9000. Portable lighting unit commonly known as the
solar lantern includes a 10 W module, 5-7 W CFL and a
sealed battery, and is priced at Rs 5000. Domestic lighting
systemsarealsoavailable to the users through community
Photovoltaic programme of MNES
Application Achievement up to
October 1992
PV water pumps 1180
PV power units 316.9 kWp
PV community lights/TV 719
PV domestic lighting units 11430
PV street lights 28887
V 0 L U M E 3 N U M B E R 3 + 43
Status of Indian photovoltaic industry
Company Production Product range
available indicating a strong need for
increasing performance reliability. In this
regard, the solar refrigerator developed
by Tata BP Solar with a gross volume of 45
litres and programmed to produce 2 kg of
ice per 24-hour cycle to facilitate vaccine
transportation, o_ffers much promise.
Direct receiving dish antennae TV
systems are also of significant value in the
direction of extending TV transmission to
remote areas. Other potential app-
lications are in the areas of defence
(battery charging units), oil exploration
(cathodic protection of pipelines), etc.
Considering the low education levels in
remote locations, running adult
education fiteracy programmes with the
help of PV lighting can be quite relevant.
Likewise, PV-powered water purifiers
can be promoted to reduce the incidence
of water-borne diseases.
Cllpacity (MW)
Central Electronics Limited 2.00 Cells, modules and
Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd 0.25 Cells, modules and
Rajasthan Electronics &
Instruments Ltd 1.00 Modules and
Udhaya Semiconductors
Private Limited 0.30 Cells, modules and
Suryovonics (Licensed) 3.00 Cells, modules and
Tata BP Solar - Modules and
Renewable Energy Systems -
BOS installation and
Others - BOS installation and
Promising future
based PV plants at service connection charges ranging
from Rs 5 to Rs 20.
Street lighting systems (SLS) being one of the first
systems to be introduced in the country, has passed
through three successive stages of development. The most
modem SLS are made of two modules, CFL with timer
control and a day/night sensor offering full night
operation. Further design modifications are being worked
upon in lighting systems to increase their reliability.
Similarly at the village level, two types of systems in the
form of community PV lighting systems and PV power
plants have been introduced. A 300 Wp PV installation for
the community centres largely consists of lights and
In spite of high initial costs, PV systems have an
important role to play in remote areas, where the grid
extension is difficult and financially nonviable. At
present, the largest economically viable application
ensuring rural linkage with the outside world is the
telecommunication, though PV for rural lighting, water
pumping and vaccine refrigeration have appreciable
social benefits. A large commercial order has already been
placed by the DOT (Department of Telecommunications)
for supply of 20 000 PV power packs.
For rural n:mote areas, PV refrigeration systems are of
a great value to the health services. So far only about 15
such systems have been field tested with the feedback
44 + U R ) A B H A R A T I
In order to accelerate the dissemination of
PV technology and to promote
indigenous entrepreneurs, the Government has
undertaken several policy initiatives. For instance, the
need for an industrial license stands eliminated now,
provided no foreign investment is involved. For the
import dependent PV machinery I components, a drastic
cut in the custom duty has been made. 'Some relevant
items have either been exempted from central tax
payment or substantial concessions have been granted.
The IREDA (Indian Renewable Energy Development
Agency), specially set up to deal with RETs (Renewable
Energy Technologies), is also providing term loans to PV
manufacturers up to Rs 1.5 crore with a total repayment
period of eight years.
In the Eighth Plan (1992- 97), a budget of Rs 90 crore has
been allocated for the PV programme. The recently
sanctioned GEF (Global Environment Facility) funding
worth Rs 165 crore, to be routed through IREDA, aims at
commercialization of PV systems for efficient lighting,
water pumping and rural community services. It would
essentially involve establishment of a circulating fund for
concessional consumer financing, infrastructural support
for marketing, delivering and servicing of products to
support an estimated installation of 12 MWp of PV
systems. With such active promotion strategies, PV is
likely to make a greater impact in India in the years to
come, especially for stand-alone applications. 0
Photovoltaics for rural power
Till1989, Barodia, a village in the arid plains of Lalitpur
district situated on Uttar Pradesh-Madhya Pradesh
border, was so remote that it almost. defied identification.
It is an extreme! y backward village with no electrification,
and has a large illiterate population, a majority of whom
are socially and economically deprived. Only a few
children go to school in a neighbouring village. The village
comprises clusters of mud and thatched hutments, with a
few pucca houses. But in December 1989, Barodia became
a recipient of PV (photovoltaics) technology, and now is
an example of how renewable energy technology could
contribute to the rural community.
At present, a PV power plant of 4 kWp capacity,
installed by UP-NEDA (Uttar Pradesh- Non-
c-onventional Energy Development Agency), is providing
energy for domestic lighting, street lighting and
television. The system consists of a PV array, battery bank,
control panel, cable fixtures and lighting loads. The array
comprises a series and parallel arrangement of 126 single
crystal silicon modules. The battery bank in this case is a
48-cell system which is charged during the daytime. The
load (mainly lighting) is switched on in the evening.
Batteries are of a low maintenance type and require only
occasional topping up with distilled water available from
the solar still installed at the site. Control panel circuitry,
indicating the charging current and other parameters
such as load current due to street lighting, domestic
lighting and television, is housed in the room adjacent to
the battery bank room.
Initially, the system had a few snags such as
malfunctioning or defective luminaries or
availa15ility of spares, resulting in regular breakdowns.
Following this, UP-NEDA strengthened the maintenance
of the system including the prompt supply of spares and
distilled water. The technical performance of the system
has been satisfactory as indicated by the tests carried out.
The data for most parameters have been fairly consistent
over time (see tables). The miil.or variation in the data is
mostly due to climatic factors such as insolation, ambient
temperature, and humidity. Even the condition of the
batteries during different seasons has been very good. The
state of charge was also to full capacity. Though a module
was damaged during a hailstorm, the plant performance
was not affected severely.- The module surfaces were
cleaned regularly. Apart from the community television,
the system now feeds 20 streetlights and 80 domestic
lighting points.
Response to the system
The villagers were enthusiastic about the stand-alone
system at the time of installation. However, they began to
lose interest when the system developed problems in the
formative period. At this stage, UP-NEDA made some
changes in the maintenance system: a project officer and
other staff were posted at Lalitpur to make the approach
easier than when it was at Jhansi; a mechanic from
Lali tpur now visits the village once in two weeks; and the
caretaker appointed to look after the system has also
acquired some skills in making minor repairs. With the
application of remedial measures and the smooth
functioning of the system, the people now fully appreciate
the benefits of the system which enables children to study
Array parameters
Month Insolation Charging voltage Charging current
) (Max) (V) (Max) (A)
September '92 1096 125.0 19.0
October '92 1010 117.5 12.0
November '92 1160 127.5 15.0
V 0 L U M E 3 N U M B E R 3 + 45
CASE STUDY continued
Month Insolation
July'92 897
September '92 994
October'92 730
November '92 1062
February'93 760
Month No. of cells
Juzving electro-
lyte level
July'92 25
September '92 28
92 27
November '92 24
February'93 26
A view of the PV potoer plant
46 + U R j A B H A R A T I
Module performance
Power output Efficiency
(W) (%)
19.37 5.39
20.80 5.23
14.56 4.98
21.36 5.02
19.22 6.32 .
Battery performance
No. of cells No. of cells No. of cells
Juzving full showing full with terminQl
electrolyte voltage corroded
48 9
48 7
48 14
48 6
48 7
at night, provides secuity through- lighting and
entertainment via supply of energy fpr televisions.
However, most of them have strongly expressed the need
to increase the capacity of the system to facilitate the use
of fans and more lights .
. Thus, Barodia not only demonstrates the potential of
PV systems to m.eet the energy needs of remote and
inaccessible locations but also emphasizes the need to
have a proper system of operation and maintenance for
the maximization of benefits from stand-alone systems. 0
S Deambi, D Tyagi,
PM Sadaphal, A Chaurey, M Sangal
Tata Energy Research Institute
Micro hydel: a promising source of rural energy
Chandra Shekhar Sinha
Tata Energy Research Institute
Small/ mini-micro hydel (hereinafter ,.referred to as micro
hydel) is a technology with enormous potential which
could exploit the water resources to supply energy to
remote rural areas with little access to conventional
energy sources. Moreover, micro hydel eliminates most of
the negative environmental effects associated with large
hydro projects (large-scale displacement, loss of
biodiversity, etc.). However, till October 1992 only about
86.44 MW (spread over 127 projects) of the total estimated
potential of 5000 MW in India has been reportedly
harnessed. In order to provide a sharper focus to this
renewable source of energy, small hydel development up
to 3 MW capacity was transferred to the MNES (Ministry
of_ Non-conventional Energy Sources) from the
Department of Power in 1989. MNES had earlier initiated
some small demonstration projects in the high, medium,
and low head categories with the ultimate objective of
making them models of their types of heads and flows in
design, and equipment selection. At present,
there are 115 schemes with a total capacity of 123.25 MW
under various stages of completion.
The Eighth Plan commitment for the small hydel sector
is Rs 100 crores. Further, the World Bank is expected to
provide a loan of $70 million (Rs 210 crores) for
developing 110 MW, to be routed through IRED A (Indian
Renewable Energy Development Agency). The GEF
(Global Environment Facility), being administered
through UNDP and the World Bank, has agreed to finance
the development of small hydel projects in the hilly
regions of the country by investing US$ 7.52 million
(Rs 22.6 crores). The total funds available for small hydro
development is thus likely to be about Rs 332 crores
during 1992-97. With participation of state governments,
private entrepreneurs, and other financial institutions,
etc., additional investment of Rs 100-150 crores would be
possible,taking the total inflow to around Rs
crores for small hydro development. Thus, micro hydel is
going to be an important technology in the Eighth Plan for
energy development in rural areas.
Experience with small hydro in India
During the Seventh Plan (1985-90), the initial batch of
schemes was conceived, designed and executed as scaled
down versions of large conventional hydro installations
leading to numerous redyndancies in the design,
resulting in high costs. The cost effectiveness of such
schemes was further undermined by the use of excess
technical staff to operate and maintain the pilot schemes.
The feedback on performance of the pilot schemes has
been utilized by MNES to attain qualitative improvement
of the programme. In fact, detailed re-examination of the
project reports in five states of Andhra Pradesh,
Karnataka, Kerala, Punjab, and Tamil Nadu (totalling
over 130 MW of proposed capacity) has been completed
by the ESMAP of the World Bank. Over 30% cost reduction
has resulted from this exercise.
Cost of micro hydro development
The costs of constructed/ committed micro hydel projects
vary widely fromRs 4700/kW to as much as Rs 80 000/
kW. The average cost for the listed projects is about
Rs 28 000/kW. These estimates are based on historical
costs. Optimizing the design to increase the energy
output, and reducing design complexities to lower the
costs for 145 micro hydel units in five totalling about
130 MW (by ESMAP) resulted in lowering the average
cost toRs 20 000/kW.
Financial incentives for sn;tall
hydro development
All micro hydel projects in grid connected areas are now
eligible for 25% capital subsidy of the government on the
'reasonable' cost of civil and electro-mechanical expenses.
For non-grid connected areas (defined as areas where the
gridismorethan 1 kmaway)thesubsidycan beupto50%.
Based on a decision of CASE (Commission on Additional
Sources of Energy), these subsidies can be availed of by
any investing organization-public, joint,
private or voluntary.
MNES also announced in May 1991, a scheme of
sharing 50% of the costs incurred on DPR (Detailed
Project Report) preparation, subject to a limit of Rs 10 000
plus Rs 100/kW of investigated capacity. The scheme is
open to all organizations, including those from the private
V 0 L U M E 3 N U M B E R 3 + 47
Status of micro hydel projects (up to 3 MW)
State fliTs Projects installed Projects under completion
Number Capacity (MW) Number Capacity (MW)
Andhra Pradesh 4 3.01 4 5.00
Arunachal Pradesh 25 15.16 19 18.40
Assam 1 2.00 - -
Bihar - - 1 1.00
Goa - - 2 2.90
Gujarat -
1 2.00
Haryana 1 0.20 1 0.10
ffiznachalPradesh 13 9.17 1 0.30
Jammu & Kashmir 5 2.31 5 5.40
Karnataka 1 0.40 3 1.39
0.02 4 10.00
Madhya Pradesh 2 1.20 7 9.05
Maharashtra 3 3.58 4 6.20
Manipur 4 2.60 5 4.70
Meghalaya 1 1.51
- -
Mizoram 7 2.95 3 4.27
Nagaland 4 2.82 5 5.60
Orissa -
9 5.23
Punjab 4 3.30
- -
Raja& than 2 0.57 5 5.56
Sikkim 6 6.90 2 2.40
TamilNadu - - 3 4.75
Tripura 2 1.01 - -
Uttar Pradesh 35 20.27 30 27.80
West Bengal 5 7.46 1 1.20
Total 127 86.44 115 123.25
(As on 15 August 1992)
48 + U R J A B H A R A T I
Manufacturing infrastructure
Significant indigenization has been achieved in the
manufacture of micro hydel equipment with the help of
technology transfer tie-ups with nine prominent
equipment manufacturers in the world.
2 x 500 kW Sessa mini hydel power project, Arunachal Pradesh
Possible measures for increased small
hydro utilization
1. Increasing reliability. The reliability of the micro hydel
system can be substantially increased through inno-
vative and inter-linked design of micro hydel facilities.
The design of micro hydel projects on the basis of river
basins using the principle of cascade development, can be
a major factor in increasing reliability. Such cascade
systems, which can be as much as 10-20 MW, can then be
integrated to form a local rural grid which, in tum, may be
connected to a regional grid, helping in hastening the
process of rural electrification.
2. Reducing costs. The recent World Bank survey of the
designs of micro hydel facilities reveals the possibility of
bringing down the unit cost of small hydro plants to one-
third of the current costs by a combination of design modi-
fication and standa-rdization of equipment.
3. Standardization of the hydro-electrical equipment
(water turbine-generator combinations) through
establishing technical specification and the consequent
improvement in the quality of manufacture and reduction
in unit costs is another measure which can go a long way
in making implementation of micro-hydel projects
reliable and quicker.
4. Role of private entrepreneurs. Power generation and
distribution, though on the concurrent list, is basically a
state subject. For private entrepreneurs to participate,
state governments have to formulate policies and
guidelines to enable generation by private sector.
In addition, for the non-grid connected systems, it is
necessary that entrepreneurs be allowed to operate as
licensees of the State Electricity Boards to generate power,
and distribute and sell it at prices which ensure economic
viability of the project.
5. A number of financial incentives applicable to other
renewable energy equipment running on solar, wind, etc.,
such as permission to depreciate 100% of the capital cost
in the first year of purchase under the Income Tax Act,
import without any license and generally with duties
ranging from 0% to 40%, and total exemption from central
excise and sales taxes should be extended to small hydro,
too. Such a move could result in a cost reduction of about
These measures are likely to go a long way in
harnessing the micro hydel potential in a sytematic
fashion, and MNES has already initiated several activities
on these lines. 0
V 0 L U M E 3 N U M B E R 3 + 49
Nodal agencies for renewable energy programmes*
1. Non-conventional Energy Development Corporation
C?f Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad
Programme: NPBD, NPIC, solar thermal, photovolt-
aics, wind energy, biomass, urjagram
2. Chief Engineer, Projects, Andhra Pradesh State
Electricity Board, Hyderabad
Programme: Mini-micro hydel
1 . . Rural Works Department, Itanagar
Programme: NPIC, solar thermal, wind energy,
biomass, urjagram
2. Director of Agriculture, Itanagar
Programme: NPBD
3. Chief Engineer, Department of Power, ltanagar
Programme: Mini-micro hyde!
1. Director of Rural Development, Guwahati
Programme: NPBD, NPIC
2. Department of Science, Technology & Environment,
Dis pur
Programme: Solar thermal, photovoltaics, wirid energy,
biomass, urjagram
3. Member (Generation), Assam State Electricity Board,
Programme: Mini-micro hy_del
1. Bihar Renewable Energy Development Agency, Patna
Programme: Solar thermal, photovoltaics, wind
energy, biomass, urjagram, NPBD, N P I ~
2. Director (Tech)., Bihar State Hydro Electric Power
Corporation, Patna
Programme: Mini-micro hydel
1. Directorate of Agriculture, Panaji
Programme: NPBD
2. Rural Development Agency, Panaji
Programme: NPIC
3. Chief Engineer (Electrical), Panaji
Programme: Solar thermal, photovoltaics, mini-micro
4. Goa, Daman & Diu Council for Science & Technology
Programme; Biomass
*State/nodal agency/department
50 + U R J A B H A R A T I
1. Gujarat Energy Development Agency, Vadodara
Programme: Solar thermal, photovoltaics, wind
energy, biomass, urjagram, NPIC, community biogas
2. Gujarat Agro-Industries Corporation, Ahmedabad
Programme: NPBD
3. Chief Engineer (Civil), Gujarat Electricity Board,
Programme: Mini-micro hydel
1. Directorate of Agriculture, Chandigarh
Programme: NPBD
2. Department of Social Welfare, Chandigarh
Programme: NPIC
3. Haryana State Council for Science & Technology,
Programme: Solar thermal, urjagram, biomass
4. State Electronics Development Corporation
Programme: Photovoltaics, wind energy
5. Chief Engineer (Hydel), Haryana State Electricity
Board, Yamuna Nagar
Programme: Mini-micro hydel
1. Director of Agriculture, Shimla
Programme: NPBD
2. Rural Development Department, Shimla
Programme: NPIC
3. Himachal Pradesh Energy Development Agency
(HIMURJA), Shimla
Programme: Biomass, urjagram, solar thermal
4. Himachal Pradesh Agro-industries Corporation
Programme: Photovoltaics, wind energy
5. Chief Engineer (Pig.), Himachal Pradesh State
Electricity Board, Shimla
Programme: Mini-micro hydel
1. Department of Agriculture, Srinagar
Programme: NPBD
2. J & K Energy Development Agency, Science &
Technology Department, Srinagar
Programme: Biomass, urjagram
3. Department of Science; Technology &
Environment, Srinagar
Programme: Solar thermal, NPIC, photovoltaics
4. Power Development Corporation, Srinagar
Programme: Mini-micro hydel
1. Department of Rural Development & Panchayati
Raj, Bangalore
Programme: NPBD, NPIC
2. Karnataka State Council for Science & Technology,
Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
Programme: Solar thermal, photovoltaics, wind
energy, biomass, urjagram
3. Kamataka Power Corporation Ltd., Bangalore
Programme: Mini-micro hydel
1. Deparbnent of Agriculture, Thiruvananthapuram
Programme: NPBD
2. Agency for Non-conventional Energy & Rural
Technology (ANERT),
Programme: Solar thermal, photovoltaics, wind
energy, biomass, urjagram, NPIC
3. Chief Engineer (Civil), Kerala SEB,
Programme: Mini-micro hydel
1. Department of Rural Development, Bombay
Programme: NPBD, NPIC
2. Maharashtra Energy Development Agency, Bombay
Programme: Solar thermal, photovoltaics, wind
energy, biomass, urjagram
3. C.E. (Hydro Project), Department of Irrigation,
Programme: Mini-micro hyde!
1. Madhya Pradesh Agro Industries Corporation,
Programme: NPBD
2. M.P. Urja Vikas Nigam, Bhopal
Programme: NPIC, solar thermal, wind energy,
biomass, urjagram
3. C.E. (Civil) S & I, Madhya Pradesh Electricity Board,
Jabal pur
Programme: Mini-micro hydel
1. Department of Science, Technology and
Environment, Imphal
Programme: NPBD, urjagram, NPIC, solar thermal,
photovoltaics, wind energy
2. C.E. (Power) Hydro Electric Investigation Circle,
Imp hal
Programme: Mini-micro hyde!
1. Meghalaya Non-conventional Energy & Rural
Development Agency, Shillong
Programme: NPBD, solar thermal, biomass, urjagram
2. Planning Department, Shillong
Programme: NPIC
3. Secretary, Electricity Department
Programme: Photovoltaics, wind energy, mini-micro
1. Directorate of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary,
Programme: NPBD
2. Rm'al Development Department, Aizawl
Programme: NPIC
3. Deparbnent of Power & Electricity, Aizawl
Programme: Solar thermal, photovoltaics, wind
energy, mini-micro hydel
4. Scientific Officer, Mizoram Council of Science,
Technology & Environment, Aizawl
Programme: Biomass
1. Department of Rural Development, Kohima
Programme: NPBD, NPIC
2. Department of Power, Kohima
Programme: Mini-micro hydel, solar thermal, biomass
3. Development Commissioner, Kohima
Programme: Photovoltaics, wind energy
1. Orissa Renewable Energy Development Agency,
Programme: NPBD, solar thermal, photovoltaics,
wind energy, biomass, urjagram, NPIC
2. Orissa Power Generation Corp. Ltd, Bhubaneshwar
Programme: Mini-Micro Hydel
1. Director of Agriculture, Chandigarh
Programme: NPBD
2. Department of Science & Technology, Chandigarh
Programme: NPIC
3. Punjab Energy Development Agency, Chandigarh
Programme: Solar thermal, photovoltaics, wind
energy, urjagram
4. Engineer-in-Chief/M & MHP, Punjab State Electricity
Board, Patiala
V 0 l U M E 3 N U M B E R 3 + 51
Programme: Mini-micro hydel
5. Punjab Agro Industries Corporation Ltd., Chandigarh
Programme: Biomass
1. Special Scheme & Integrated Rural Development
Department, Jaipur
Programme: NPBD
2. Rural Development & Panchayati Raj Department,
Programme: NPIC
3. Rajasthan Energy Development Agency, Jaipur; and
Rajasthan Agro-Industries Corporation Ltd.,
Programme: Solar thermal, photovoltaics, wind energy,
biomass, urjagram
4. C.E. (Mini Hydel), Rajasthan State Electricity Board,
Jaipur and Rajasthan Agro-Industries Corpn Ltd.
Programme: Mini-micro hydel
1. New & Renewable Sources of Energy Department,
Programme: NPB,O, NPIC, solar thermal, photo-
voltaics, wind energy, biomass, urjagram
2. Add. Chief Engineer, Power Department, Gangtok
Programme: Mini-micro hydel
1. Department of Rural Development, Madras
Programme: NPBD, NPIC
2. Tamilnadu Energy Development Agency, Madras
Programme: Solar thermal, biomass, urjagram,
photovoltaics, wind energy
3. C. E. (Planning), Tamil N adu Electricity Board, Madras
Programme: Mini-micro hydel
1. Department of Agriculture, Agartala
Programme: NPBD
2. Department of Science, Technology & Environment,
Programme: NPIC, solar thermal, photovoltaics, wind
energy, biomass, urjagram
3. C.E. (Electrical), Department of Power, Agartala
Programme: Mini-micro hydel
1. Non-conventional Enet;gy Development Agency,
Programme: Solar thermal, photovoltaics, wind energy,
biomass, urjagram, mini-micro hydel, NPIC
2. Department of Rural Development, Lucknow
Programme: NPBD, NPIC
52 + U R J A B H A R A T I
1. Department of Cottage & Small Scale Industries,
C a l ~ u t t a
Programme: NPBD
2. Relief & Welfare Department, Calcutta
Programme: NPIC
3. Science & Technology Department, Calcutta
Programme: Solar thermal, urjagram
4. West Bengal State Electricity Board, Calcutta
Progamme: Photovoltaics, wind energy, biomass
5. C.E. (Hyde!), West Bengal State Electricity Board,
Progamme: Mini-micro hydel
1. Development Commissioner & Development
Secretary, Port Blair
Programme: NPBD
2. Department of Electricity, Port Blair
Programme: Solar thermal, biomass, mini-micro hydel
3. Department of Energy, Port Blair
Programme: Photovoltaics, wind energy
1. Department o{Rural Development, Chandigarh
Programme: NPBD
2. Department of Social Welfare, Chandigarh
Progamme: NPIC, solar thermal
1. Animal Husbandry-cum-Veterinary Officer, Silvassa
Programme: NPBD
2. Development & Planning Officer, Rural Development
Department, Administration of Dadra & Nagar Haveli
(U.T.), Silvassa
Prowamme: Solar thermal, biomass, NPIC
1. Delhi Energy Development Agency, Delhi
Programme: NPBD, solar thermal, photovoltaics, wind
energy, biomass, NPIC
1. Director of Agriculture, Pondicherry
Programme: NPBD, photovoltaics, wind energy,
biomass, NPIC
2. District Rural Development Agency, Pondicherry
Programme: Solar thermal
Compiled by Soma Dutta
Institutional financing for renewable energy
development in India
R C Sekhar
Institute of Rural Management, Anand
Only in recent times is the technical promise of renewable
energy systems grudgingly admitted in India as being
reliable and having potential. As most of these
technologies gain increasingly firmer ground, the role of
institutional financing, too, is becoming more important.
The viability of technologies based on renewable
energy have a range and variability depending upon the
location and context, which are related to the technical
input-output parametric relationships and to extending
these to financial results using their opportunity costs.
This has so far been a major barrier in promoting
institutional financing or in developing general
guidelines for its implementation.
Relevance of institutional financing
Institutional financing is particularly useful and desirable
when there is viability of an investment in the long run,
but there may be problems in the 'short run' in terms of
cash flows. In addition, there may be risks owing to
variability in perfotmance. Noting the greater risks in
investments iri. renewable energy, the coverage of risks is
considered an important aspect of financing renewable
energy. It is often suggested that it is not the capital costs
but risk coverage that is the critical factor for extension of
renewable energy technologies, such as biogas. If risk of
failure needs only to be covered, then the financing
mechanisms need to be different.
Distortions in the energy sector is another reason for
supporting institutional financing. It is well understood
that the energy tariffs of the conventional, non- renewable
sources and of nuclear power are highly underpriced and
subsidized. Consequently, they strangle all development
in rational energy planning. This is further aggravated by
the lack of mechanisms of internalizing of external costs
(such as environmental damage) and benefits.
If the tariffs were to be rationalized, there will be a
strong movement towards conservation and of
development of renewable sources. Some, if not most of
them, could be planned properly by these very energy
supply organizations. These would be bankable as the
economics of both, conservation and renewables, are
quite sound with rational tariffs. The support could also
be extended differentially in favour of the poor; this
would mitigate and compensate for a merciless market
The high front end-cost and low running costs
associated with most renewable energy technologies
makes financing even more relevant. Therefore, when
there are capital constraints, moderate risks and long-
term returns, institutional support is a healthy quasi-
market moderating corrective for naked market
The merit of institutional financing is in its ability to
monitor and correct inefficiencies and misallocation of
resources at low transaction costs. In several
circumstances, it may be better than less market oriented
and more administratively control oriented mechanism. It's
approach is inherently and very refreshingly pluralistic. It
presents both the giver and taker of finance with freedom
of choice, action and decision. The decision-making is
decentralized and dispersed to agents who have more
intimate contact.
But all these arguments are relevant only for private
returns for an individual or a firm and not for social
returns. Institutional finance can only monitor and cope
with individual returns. Social returns are too
cumbersome for it and would be ineffective in promoting
social objectives.
Institutional financing for renewable energy
In India, institutional financing in the past was usually
linked with government schemes of subsidies or grants,
whether it be the biogas, social forestry programmes or
any other programme. These were operated not only
through individuals and corporate or collective users but
also through manufacturers. These schemes of subsidies
suffered from lack of innovation on the economics and
technological soundness of the investment. Evidently,
V 0 L U M E 3 N U M B E R 3 + 53
VIEWPOINT continued
this approach has had a limited impact in achieving the
desired objectives. The element of subsidy led to wrong
investment decisions and also resulted in .major leakages.
Even the operating economics of running the project was
often ul)iavorable due to investments in incorrect places
and situations.
Some new initiatives such as the creation of the IRED A
(Indian Re-newable Energy Development Agency) 41nd
Programme for Accelaration of Commercialization of
Energy Resources have been taken. These initiatives are
welcome because they attempt to bring in the discipline ()f
the market, choosing those segments that are not likely to
be perversely distorted by market mechanisms.
Alternatively, they bypass market mechanisms for
evaluation, typically in R&D. But they are still on a small
scale and can only make a limited impact. Most of all they
are still not cognizant, except in R&D funding, of the
problems of risks which inhibits many takers. Therefore,
an expansion of the scale of operations by organizations
like IRED A is dearly indicated, which hopefully will take
place following substantial funding from the World Bank
and UNDP under GEF (Global Environment Facility), to
develop renewables such as wind and PV systems.
In conclusion, one may say, that institutional funding
for renewable energy systems has several difficulties
owing to the dispersal of activities it demands, the
variability of financial viability due .to very dissin:Ular
conditions, and the higher risks these projects inherently
have. Lastly, it has to be only one of the many tools of
intervention. It can certainly not cope with the social
returns criterion unaided by other measures such as subsi-
dies and fiscal incentives. Among the very important aids
for internalizing external costs, is correcting the tariff pol-
icy for energy from non-renewable large centralized units.
Many innovations are possible to reduce the problems
of disperSed application; one such is the DEFENDUS
strategy propounded by Amulya R e d d y ~ which enjoins
the centralized producers of energy to execute dispersed
energy conservation and renewable energy deve-
lopments. Lastly, not standardized projeCts but tailor-
made programmes have to be handled by financing insti-
tutions. This means considerable education and dis-
cretion for them, much more than provided hitherto. 0
The Indian Renewable Energy Develapment Agency (IRED A) was set up as a public sector undertaking in 1987 with
an aim to extend financial assistance to promote, develop and commercialize technologies relating to NRSE (new and
renewable sources of energy). In order to strengthen its resource base, the government allowediREDA to raiseRs 25
crore from the capital market through 9% tax free bonds. A plan allocation of Rs 3.4 crore has been made for IRED A
for the year 1990/91. IRED A has also received assistance from the Dutch Government in form of a grant-in-aid of over
Rs 16 crore to promote NRSE technologies in the country. The World Bank has also shown a keen interest in assisting
projects to generate power through small hydro, wind-farms and solarphotovoltaics. With the likelihood of it receiving
huge funding to the tune of US $275 million through GEF (Global Environment Facility), IRED A is poised for a
quantum leap in its operations.
Ooer the years, IRED A has promoted projects and technologies in areas of NRSE such as biomass utilizationJ wind
energy, mini and micro hydel, solar thermal energy, solar photovoltaics, and generation of biogas from industrial
effluents. Projects have also been-promoted in manufacture by NRSE equipment as well as direct utilization of such
IRED A which has completed five years of its existence had, til131 March 1992, approved a total of177 projects worth
Rs 209.35 crore. Out of this, IREDA's loan commitment is Rs 66.79 crore. During 1991-92, financial assistance
sanctioned for 52 new projects amounted toRs 24.84 as against Rs 26.29 crore in the previous year. Loan disbursements
during the year amounted toRs 10.18 crore representing an increase of 23:8% over the previous year's disbursements.
54 + U R J A 8 H A R A T I
Suggested readings
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103-105 Southampton Road, London, Great Britain
Boiling Point, Technical Enquiry Office, ITDG, Myson
House, Railway_ Terrace, Rugby, Great Britain
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Changing Villages, Consortium on Rural Technology,
D-320 Laxmi Nagar, Delhi 110 092
Down to Earth, F 6 Kailash Colony, New Delhi 110 048
Economic and Political Weekly, Hitkari House, 284 Shahid
Bhagatsingh Road, Bombay 400 038
Energy Management (India), National Productivity
Council, Lodi Road, New Delhi 110 003
Energy- The International Journal, Pergamon Press,
Headington Hill Hall, Oxford, Great Britain
Energy Economics, Butterworth Scientific Ltd, PO Box 63,
Westbury House, Bury Street, Guilford, Surrey,
Great Britain GU2 SBH
Energy Policy, Butterworth- Heinemann Limited, Linacre
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Journal of Rural Development, National Institute of Rural
Development, Rajendra Nagar, Hyderabad 500 030
i<hadi Gramodyog, Khadi and Village Industries
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Moving Technology, Council for Advancement of People's
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Natural Resources Forum, Butterworth-Heinemann
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RERIC International Energy Journal, Regional Energy
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Sun World, International Solar Energy Society, PO Box 52,
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Compiled by Nandita Hazarika

56 + U R J A B H A R A T I