Helpline: Expert response by Mohua Mukherjee and Padu Padmanaban

Helpline: Expert response by Mohua Mukherjee and Padu Padmanaban
Authors (non HEDON members)
Mohua Mukherjee, Padu Padmanaban
Rapid expansion of distributed and decentralised energy systems is vital in
achieving universal access to all. However, uncertainty about grid extension
plans by the government, and reliable availability of information surrounding
this, is a major stumbling block for developers in many developing nations.
We, as a developer make assumptions that a particular village will not
be electrified or connected to the national gird for the next 5-6 years to
ensure our distributed power plants are sustainable and are able to reap
the benefits. The current price at which we sell electricity as a developer
is higher than what the government offers when they roll out electricity (as
they subsidise the actual costs). Therefore reliable data with a clear timeline
is crucial to ensure that developers like ourselves are able to operate
and expand in areas that will not be extended with the national grid. Grid
integration might be a solution but at present has its technical challenges
as well as financial implications that would jeopardise our business models.
We have had experiences in the past where we had to cease operating
our micro-grids as the national grid was extended a few months before
elections. Portable energy providers (like lantern or home lighting system
providers) are able to unplug and move onto new areas whereas it is very
challenging for micro-grid operators to scale down rapidly. This has been
an issue for us while raising investments as well. Who should we reach out
to in order to get a clear picture of extension plans? What approach should
we take if the promises given by the government are broken? How could we
convince our investors that we can mitigate this risk?
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off-grid    world bank    micro-grid   

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  • A practitioner's journal on household energy, stoves and poverty reduction.

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