Power sector                    

 Village energy services        
 Efficient irrigation               
 Clean cooking fuels       
 Environmental issues
International Energy Initiative,
Asian Regional Energy Initiative,
80-B Spencer Road, 2nd Cross, Fraser Town,
Bangalore 560 005,

+91 80 2555 3563


  The Asian Regional Energy Initiative of the IEI

This 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 energy use.

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.

At the 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 decade.

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.

Village domestic energy services: 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 electricity generator.  Efforts to replicate these activities are in progress.

Efficient irrigation: 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 project at a sample of farms in south-east Karnataka, where energy 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.

Thereafter, 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 biogas, generated in a range of digesters, and linked to the stoves of clusters of surrounding homes.

Environmental issues: 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 studied 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.