Grid Governance: Are Solar Microgrids a Step on the Ladder Towards Grid Access?

india solar

Electrification projects in Dharnai, a village in eastern India, exemplify what can happen when public institutions and private actors fail to coordinate.

In July of this year, Greenpeace installed a solar/battery microgrid in the village of Dharnai in eastern India. The 100-kilowatt system was designed to provide power for the village’s 2,400 residents, 50 businesses, 2 schools, and other infrastructure. Greenpeace called the project “inspiring,” writing that case studies like Dharnai prove “villages can develop their own clean power and contribute to saving their environment by showing we don’t need to use nuclear, coal or other fossil fuels for energy.”

A few months later, the government utility extended the national grid and made the solar microgrid obsolete.

It’s apparently a familiar scenario in India, where extension of the central grid is “scuppering efforts to supply clean, modern energy” according to Bloomberg. “We wanted to set this up as a business model,” Bloomberg quoted Greenpeace campaigner Abhishek Pratap as saying. “Now we’re in a course correction.”

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