The Asian Regional Energy
Initiative of the IEI
section focuses on our on-going and recently-concluded projects.
These consist of analytical studies as well as field work, based
on our analysis and design. They have been grouped in the
categories: the power sector, village energy services, efficient
irrigation, clean cooking fuel, and the environmental impacts of
Power sector: At the
international level, we have been studying the experiences of
integrated resource planning (IRP) -- the likely benefits for the
power sector in spite of barriers to its use, and the policies
through which this form of planning could be implemented.
national level in India, we have used the IRP approach while
comparing the costs of electricity generation and of conservation
through various options. We have also assessed the policies
through which integrated planning methods could be implemented for
the benefit of the power sector, in the light of the legal and
institutional changes that have taken place during the last
At the regional level, studies of
state power systems
were carried out and alternative ways forward suggested.
The research findings for developing countries as a group,
for India, and for the Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (BESCOM),
a regional distributing utility, were published.
The Asian REI had earlier designed and demonstrated village-based
electricity and water supply utilities in Karnataka, fuelled by
biogas. A study was then carried out in order to assess these
utilities, evaluate their performance, and derive essential
conditions for sustainable rural energy activities. We have also
been evolving methods for practically extending and improving
rural energy services while ensuring local employment and
development. Economically-viable local activities have been
established with biogas being generated from the waste of these
activities and used for fuelling stoves or
electricity-generation. While this renewably-generated and
environmentally-friendly fuel is used to meet energy needs, the
economic activities provide employment and the net revenue helps
compensate for costs.
We have demonstrated three options of this model in villages of Karnataka
-- cattle-dung-fuelled biogas for cook-stoves,
banana-waste-fuelled biogas for cook-stoves and
cattle-dung-fuelled biogas to power an
Efforts to replicate these activities are in progress.
Irrigation is essential for the effective use of arable land and
to increase agricultural productivity. But water can be
conservatively and efficiently applied -- commensurate with plant
requirements and focused where required. As about 60% of India’s
net sown area is irrigated with groundwater that has to be pumped
to the surface, efficient pumping coupled with conservative water
use can conserve energy too. In this context, we have compiled
information on the efforts at improving the efficiency of
irrigation from wells in India.
We have also
carried out a field
at a sample of farms in
and water use were
measured/assessed, followed by the introduction of efficient pumps
and micro-irrigation systems. Conservation
of water and electricity, along with increased harvests
at erstwhile rain-fed farms,
were effectively demonstrated.
Clean cooking fuels:
Most homes in rural India burn collected biomass as stove fuel.
While assessing possible shifts to cleaner and more efficient
fuels for household cooking, we had studied the domestic demand
and supply of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in India.
we have designed community-based projects at which the waste/residues
of local activities
-- livestock rearing or cultivation --
can be digested to provide a sustainable source of clean fuel.
The fuel generated has thus far been
generated in a range of digesters, and linked to the stoves of
clusters of surrounding homes.
Concern for environmental protection has often been ignored in the
course of industrial processing and electricity generation. While
environmental issues may have been forced into the reckoning by
mandatory impact assessments, we consider that environmental
issues should be integrated into the processes and their economic
evaluation. On a micro level, we have
the use of coffee-processing-effluents for biogas production,
thereby avoiding their untreated disposal while generating energy.
We have also tried to incorporate water-harvesting and
conservative methods of use in all our field projects.
At a macro level, we have assessed the environmental impacts of
electricity generation and
compared the attempts at their mitigation in
China and India.