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India has made significant progress in improving electricity access for more than 500 million people over the last two decades. Despite the significant increase in electrification of homes, electricity access continues to be a challenge for the rural health, education, agricultural and livelihood sectors. Several public schools, public health centres, anganwaadis, community health clinics, small shops and businesses, and agricultural sector needs remain unelectrified or under-electrified. Many of those that are electrified, often get intermittent and unreliable supply and rely on expensive diesel generators. Expensive and unreliable electricity restricts the possibility of socio-economic development outcomes.

The government of India has committed a target of 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2030, and 450 GW by 2030. There is a great opportunity to link the unmet and under-met electricity demand, with the achievement of these renewable energy targets. Decentralized energy solutions could provide a significant opportunity to power remote and rural schools, healthcare, and livelihood facilities.

Adequate markets and institutional arrangements, access to finance, an enabling policy and regulatory environment and capacity building measures can support the efforts of the government to reach these last miles.

WRI India’s energy program works to fuel the growth of sustainable, affordable and reliable electricity for all through:

Research and analysis- We are strong collaborators – with strengths in data, analysis, research, and implementation. We identify barriers to enhance energy access and uptake of distributed renewable energy solutions integrated with energy efficiency measures. The aim is to identify solutions to overcome these through on-ground research and bottom-up data collection.

Building the Evidence- Our end-user demand focus complements the traditional supply side focus of the sector. We develop tools, methods and frameworks to create enabling conditions to support scaled-up access to distributed renewable energy solutions, especially in rural and underserved areas. We provide evidence from research on the ground to support in decision making at the national and sub-national levels.

Stakeholder engagement- We believe in the power of partnerships, and invest in bottom-up process to complement top-down efforts to engage with stakeholders. We work with development institutions, governments, energy enterprises, investors and the civil society to build capacity and support sustainable, affordable and reliable energy access solutions that alleviate poverty and promote development.

Energy for Development

WRI India’s energy program supports access to sustainable, affordable and reliable energy for development services in rural and underserved areas in states like Assam, Jharkhand and Rajasthan. We are exploring how energy access can lead to better socio-development outcomes such as better health, quality education and improved livelihood opportunities to alleviate poverty and promote development.

We strive to mainstream the socio-economic development outcomes in energy access planning and integrate energy access considerations in planning for development programs, across stakeholder categories. In areas with high climate vulnerability, we look at the role of energy access in building resilience by reducing sensitivity and improving adaptive capacities of vulnerable communities. We work on the following areas to cross-learn, co-develop programs and take evidence-based decisions to achieve impact at scale:

Clean Energy Technology: We demonstrate the potential of technology in meeting energy access needs through pilot projects with our development partners by assessing the energy needs, identifying right-sized energy solutions, supporting implementation of the solutions and evaluating the impacts.

Clean Energy Financing: We work with stakeholders to build a supportive ecosystem for financing energy solutions by mapping the right funding sources to the partners and helping in developing proposals.

Data and Learning: Our interventions should be informed by systematic evidence that also provides insight into the scaling potential of such energy interventions. To this end, we write case studies and other knowledge sharing products help key stakeholders learn and make better informed decisions to meet energy access gaps.

We are committed to working towards the achievement of UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by creating awareness about the need for energy (SDG 7) in achieving the different goals, such as SDG 3 (Good health and well-being), SDG 4 (Quality education), SDG 6 (Clean water and sanitation), SDG 8 (Decent work and economic growth), and SDG 13 (Climate action).

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