Clean Energy Market Emerges for India’s Rural Poor

The market for clean energy products is growing among India’s rural poor, a massive segment that consists of 114 million households and more than 60 percent of the nation’s population of 1.15 billion, according to a new report. Nearly half of India’s rural poor do not have reliable access to electricity and more than 85 percent largely rely on firewood or dung for cooking and heating. As a result, Indian companies are increasingly seeing a market opportunity in providing alternativecooking and electricity products — including solar lanterns,energy-efficient stoves, biomass gasification, and small-scalehydropower — to the nation’s rural market, says the report published bythe Centre for Development Finance and the World Resources Institute.Since 2004, the market for green energy products in rural India hasgrown at an average rate of 36 percent a year and this market couldeventually grow to more than $2.1 billion annually, the report said. Inaddition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the continued emergenceof this market could have profound effects on human health in ruralIndia, as firewood and dung fires produce sooty emissions linked to health problems and premature death.



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