Demand Assessment for Mini Grids in Villages of Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh (UP) is one of the largest states in India by area and it is also among the largest states in India in terms of economy, with the state gross domestic product (GDP) of `708,000 crore, with the key economic activities based on agriculture and service industries. Despite this, several inequalities exist within the state, with a large proportion of the population, especially in rural areas still lacking access to basic infrastructure services, such as electricity or clean cooking solutions. But, now efforts are being made to develop capacity in renewable energy sources, such as solar energy, biomass-based electricity, small hydro, wind energy, etc., in the state in order to accelerate access to energy, especially in rural areas. The Government of Uttar Pradesh through its nodal agency Uttar Pradesh New and Renewable Energy Development Agency (UPNEDA) is making untiring effort to facilitate generation of green and clean energy for the people of the state.
Demand Assessment Survey
Under this context, GIZ in cooperation with its state partner UPNEDA has conducted a demand assessment survey in the districts of Kanpur Nagar and Banda. The exercise was carried out under the context of developing a private sector model for attracting large-scale participation of private players for the promotion of mini grids in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India. Five key elements were proposed under the private sector model. These elements are:
Selection of villages on a clusterbased approach in order to provide economies of scale; A reduction in the pre-investments costs towards demand assessment, system sizing, site selection, etc.; A reduction in the costs of financial closure through pre-established financial structures/linkages; A reduction in the risk of demand uptake through efforts to encourage productive end uses of electricity; A reduction in the policy and regulatory risk through appropriate mitigation structures.
The findings of the demand assessment was intended to serve as a base for establishing solar mini-grid pilot projects, which would further be helpful in demonstrating the proof-ofconcept for a viable business model of distributed generation in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
Fifty un-electrified or de-electrified villages were identified for demand assessment survey in each of the districts (Kanpur Nagar and Banda). A primary survey was carried out to estimate the load demand for three target segments, that is, households, irrigation loads, and commercial/ productive loads. This primary survey adopted a mix-design approach with both qualitative and quantitative aspects. The quantitative data was captured through household surveys (100 per cent household’s survey in a village combined with 10 per cent of the household’s survey in the remaining 49 villages) and surveys of commercial and irrigation loads. The survey covered detailed information related to demographic, socioeconomic, and prevailing energy usage.
Inter alia, the household surveys captured key information, such as electricity requirement in various intervals of time, preference for electrification options, and income and expenditure patterns. Using these data, load duration curves and load profile curves have been generated for all the villages in the two districts. The average HH energy demand for all villages in Kanpur Nagar and Banda were calculated (65.44 kWh/day and 62.6 kWh/day respectively). Some samples of household load profile, productive load profile, and irrigation load profile have been illustrated in Figure 1. All the load curves generated are found to have peaks in the morning and evening, which is typical of village load curves. Similar load curves have also been generated for the productive loads using the time of operation provided by their owners in the survey response (Figure 2). With regards to irrigation load curves, the average load on a per-day basis is estimated using the time and duration of operation of irrigation pumps for various cropping seasons. In most of the villages of Kanpur Nagar and Banda, Kharif and Rabi crops are cultivated and in some cases Zaid crops are also cultivated that result in uniform loads throughout the year (Figure 3). On comparing the preferred options for electrification with the economic status it was observed that irrespective of the card-holding category (such as ‘below poverty line’, ‘above poverty line’ etc.,) or income level, options B and C (Table 1) were the preferred choice of majority of households in both Kanpur Nagar and Banda. Table 1 illustrates different options that were used during survey. The findings inferred that the maximum demand was for running household appliances, irrigation pumps followed by mills and fodder cutting machines. It was also interesting to know that some of the households have latent demand in the form of coolers, refrigerators or even washing machines despite being un-electrified or de-electrified. As of now, these machines are powered by diesel-based generator or lying idle.
The data gathered through this detailed survey can play an important role for optimum design of the solar based mini-grid systems.
Promotion of Productive Uses of Energy
With regards to reduction in the risk of demand uptake, a local agency was engaged to promote productive uses of energy in selected village of the district of Kanpur Nagar. The engaged agency promoted productive uses of energy through Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) and SHGs/Cooperative meetings. The focus was to create awareness among people about advantages of switching to electricity for running equipment (irrigation pumps, rice huller, flour mills, oil expeller, fodder cutting machines, etc.,) over diesel. The awareness also included doing cost–benefit analysis and explaining to people in a non-technical way.
With regards to reduction in the costs of financial closure through pre-established financial structures/ linkages, a combination of equity, debt, and grant (subsidy, if available) has been proposed. Recently, KfW Development Bank and the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Ltd. (IREDA) signed a line of credit for €20 million to be utilized for ‘access to energy’ by financing renewable energy projects in India. It is expected that to an extent the issue of access to finance would be addressed.
With regards to mitigating regulatory risks through policy interventions, the Government of Uttar Pradesh has recently adopted a mini grid policy for electrification of un-electrified area through the participation of private players in the state. It is expected that the policy will mitigate some of the regulatory risks perceived by the private players and will encourage large-scale participation of private players in order to promote mini grids for electrification in the state. Moreover, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has issued a draft national policy for mini and micro grids. The policy aims to create up to 500 MW capacity in the private sector in the next five years.
Contributed by Mr Onkar Nath, Technical Expert, GIZ India, Jor Bagh, New Delhi, India. Email: email@example.com