Happy Home Package for Clean Cooking and Lighting
India faces a challenge to ensure availability of reliable and modern forms of energy for all its citizens. Almost 85 per cent of rural households depend on solid fuel for their cooking needs and only 55 per cent of all rural households have access to electricity. However, even after these problems, most rural households face issues with quality and consistency of energy supply. In addition, there are issues of health and drudgery due to continuous use of biomass cookstoves, which need to be addressed. Ensuring access to clean and affordable energy for domestic lighting and cooking has been a key focus for the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE). As part of this mandate, MNRE has introduced several programmes and interventions to achieve universal access to clean and affordable energy. In continuation of this effort, MNRE seeks cooperation from corporates and public sector enterprises to contribute to this goal. Energy for lighting and cooking is one of the most critical needs of every household. In India, there are more than 166 households who are dependent on biomass fuel, such as fuelwood, crop-residue, and dung-cakes. Most of these households use inefficient traditional cookstoves, which cause alarmingly high level indoor air pollution (IAP). As per the World Health Organization estimates, IAP causes more than 488,000 premature deaths every year in India. The inefficient biomass cookstoves are also a cause of forest degradation and drudgery for women who spend substantial time collecting and processing fuel. For lighting needs, a significant number of rural households are still using kerosene lamps in the absence of reliable and affordable access to electricity. Only 43.5 per cent of rural households use electricity. Even in villages which are electrified, energy service is inadequate, unreliable, and of poor quality. Household energy requirements can be easily met by environment-friendly, affordable, and healthy options, such as solar energy based lights and improved biomass cookstoves.
ENSURING ACCESS TO CLEAN AND AFFORDABLE ENERGY FOR DOMESTIC LIGHTING AND COOKING HAS BEEN A KEY FOCUS FOR THE MINISTRY OF NEW AND RENEWABLE ENERGY (MNRE). AS PART OF THIS MANDATE, MNRE HAS INTRODUCED SEVERAL PROGRAMMES AND INTERVENTIONS TO ACHIEVE UNIVERSAL ACCESS TO CLEAN AND AFFORDABLE ENERGY.
Some Foremost Solutions
- Solar energy lanterns: Light-emitting diode (LED) based portable lamps, which are powered by rechargeable (by small solar panel) battery are ideal multipurpose solutions for rural households (Pictures 1 and 2). These lights can be used for inhouse lighting as well as portable outdoor lights. These lights also recharge mobile phones.
- Solar home systems: The solar home systems (SHS) are an affordable solution for multi-energy needs of rural households. These systems can power multiple LED lights, mobile recharging, and other small home appliances through a battery that can be recharged using solar photovoltaic panels.
- Improved biomass cookstoves: These cookstoves are more efficient, consume less biomass fuel and cause significantly less indoor air pollution through better combustion of biomass fuel (Pictures 3 and 4).
- Improved biomass cookstoves with Thermoelectric Generating (TEG) modules: Improved biomass cookstoves that are fitted with TEG produce electricity from the heat generated during the cooking. This electricity can power LED lights and mobile charging. This makes an ideal solution for lighting and cooking energy needs for small households.
A combination of the above mentioned solutions in the form of products, a happy home package (Table 1), can provide access to lighting and cooking energy for rural households who are struggling with inefficient, unhealthy, and costly alternatives. These packages are meant to provide clean cooking energy, mobile charging, and minimum two lights.
EVEN IN VILLAGES WHICH ARE ELECTRIFIED, ENERGY SERVICE IS INADEQUATE, UNRELIABLE, AND OF POOR QUALITY. HOUSEHOLD ENERGY REQUIREMENTS CAN BE EASILY MET BY ENVIRONMENTFRIENDLY, AFFORDABLE, AND HEALTHY OPTIONS, SUCH AS SOLAR ENERGY BASED LIGHTS AND IMPROVED BIOMASS COOKSTOVES.
The recommended minimum specifications of all products are provided in Tables 2 and 3. Corporates and public sector enterprises can sponsor these packages as part of their corporate social responsibility programmes. These packages can be implemented through rural distribution companies/civil society organizations, who can provide after-sales service and user-training for adoption of these products. The MNRE will facilitate inputs for technical assistance, training, awareness generation, and outreach after selection of the companies by the PSUs.
Dr (Mrs) Parveen Dhamija, Advisor/Scientist G, MNRE, Lodhi Road, New Delhi, India. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org