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Energy: The Issue

Energy is needed for basic activities like home-lighting, cooking etc. In India 56% of rural households (and 40% of all households) are unelectrified.  While the country has installed over 135,000 MW of power plants, and generation is growing by 6-7% annually,  it doesnt translate to equity in distribution.  We find that even ensuring basic connectivity of all households to the grid or to alternate sources where grid is not available, is not a priority in government's policy and implementation, and is the major reason why people are living in darkness (see map ).  

AID's work in partnership with people and groups in India has focussed on understanding electrification and other energy needs of the underpriveleged sections, recognizing their capability to pay for energy usage provided the energy sources are available to them, and coming up with innovative solutions.  


 Srikakulam Rural Development Project:  Ironically, the majority of the unelectrified households in India are in villages that are already connected to the grid (officially it requires only 10% of households to be powered to declare a village electrified ).  At an extremely low cost of about $2000 per year,  AID has enabled nearly 1000 households across 25 such villages to get electricity connections in the past 3-4 years. This model is replicable and can be used all over India.

A survey conducted by AID-India Srikakulam, indicated that those without electricity were spending Rs 30-40 per month on kerosene (3-4 litres at Rs 11/liter) for oil lamps, while those with one or two tubelights in the same villages, had monthly bills of Rs 40 for about 20 units of electricity they consumed [2004-05 prices]. Thus even poor people had the capacity to pay their monthly bills, and what was keeping their homes dark was their inability to pay the one time Rs 1000-3000 bribe for securing an initial connection.  Having found that it was not poverty but exploitation that was keeping homes dark, AID-India volunteers along with 20 village people who did not have electricity,  fought the bribes and secured 20 connections without bribes. Since then more people have joined the campaign and by 2008, over 700 connections were facilitated by AID-India in Srikakulam district.


 Pedal Power: Motivated by children literally burning the midnight oil before exams, in remote areas of Narmada valley where despite the Sardar Sarovar dam there is no plan to connect the valley villages to the grid, a pedal power generator was designed by AID volunteers, where children could light up their classrooms by pedalling.

Bilgaon Micro: AID supported a microhydro project in the village Bilgaon where the energy of a local waterfalls was tapped lighting about 200 households. The project done in collaboration with Bombay Sarvodaya Friendship Centre, People's School of Energy and shramdaan provided by the Narmada Valley residents. 

 Biogas, Wind and Solar: AID initiated collaborations between Mozda Collective in Gujarat, Narmada Support Group in Dhule, Maharshtra  and AID-India, Orissa Chapter with Engineers Without Borders and students of US universities that strengthened existing ideas in all partners and led to design and fabrication of a biogas electricity generation plant,  wind turbine and solar LED lights.

In addition AID has supported projects in diverse areas of alternate energy.





Solar Cookers: Mozda



Large projects being done in the name of the poor, do not address the question of those who are suffering the most -- people living in darkness who dont have access to electricity -- as there is seldom any creation of infrastructure for distribution, they are mainly aiming to produce more electricity while not addressing distribution issues.  In cases such as the Sardar Sarovar dam, AID has not only been concerned about the environmental and human rights issues as regards rehabilitation, but has also pointed t


AID Projects Of Energy

Solar Cooker in Juna Mozda