CEED, in partnership with the Bihar Industries Association (BIA), organized a roundtable on ‘Role of mini-grids in energy access across the state’ to ensure effective rural electrification across Bihar through decentralized renewable energy systems. The roundtable was an attempt to explore practical approaches for energy accessibility in rural Bihar as well as to identify opportunities to sustain renewable energy based mini-grids in the state.
One of the key points that emerged during the discussion was the lack of clear regulation to support renewable energy based mini-grids and micro-grids for modern energy access in rural Bihar.
Mr. Abhishek Pratap, Program Director, CEED said, “Mini/micro-grid is not an option but a necessity to provide power to all, and its existence and support cannot be denied”. He mentioned that “Micro/mini-grids are a way to provide a reliable and quality supply of power round the clock, with the additional benefit of reducing demands upon the conventional distribution network”. He further added that “Mini-grids offer the benefits of boosting the local economy by meeting energy needs of residential and commercial activities thereby supporting enterprise development, generating employment opportunities, and raising individual/household incomes.”
Mr. Sanjay Bhartiya, Vice President, Bihar Industries Association (BIA) said, “Industries as a key interest group has a wider role to play towards the propagation of a decentralized solution in the form of mini-grids for the successful implementation of rural electrification around Bihar.” He further added that the roundtable provided opportunities for them to plan effective business management strategies for ensuring support to various mini-grid developers.
Representatives of the renewable energy industry at the roundtable stressed that mini-grids shall not only act as a main power source in rural areas but will also act a source of backup power in the absence of the grid supply and have the potential to change supply as per the needs of the consumers, which will in turn help in the establishment of small shops, factories, rice mills.
The representatives of several industries, manufacturers and other stakeholders participated in the discussion. Besides exploring the glaring gaps and constraints in the Saubhagya Scheme that reduce the efficacy of the scheme in achieving the policy goal of ‘Power for All’, the consultation also highlighted the future of mini/micro-grids in the light of the Saubhagya Scheme.