Status of Rural Electrification in India, Energy Scenario and People’s Perception of Renewable Energy Technologies
Energy is at the heart of most critical economic, environmental and developmental issues facing the world today. Clean, efficient, affordable and reliable energy services are indispensable for global prosperity. Several local and global factors, including climate change, population increase and future energy security are the driving factors to the desire for universal access to renewable energy technologies. Social attitudes and lack of knowledge and awareness are major challenges to overcome, to successfully introduce low carbon technologies as a sustainable alternative to more traditional means of energy provision. This article presents a review of the status of rural electrification in India and decentralized renewable energy technology options. The work details different initiatives taken by the government of India for electrification of villages and steps taken to promote decentralized energy generation technologies. The study includes the results of a rural energy survey conducted in a typical village in the Indian state of Karnataka. It highlights the opportunities and attitudes of the rural communities towards sustainable modern energy services and the technologies used to deliver them. Results from the survey show that there is interest among the people in using sustainable or renewable technologies for energy provision. The findings suggest that, while selecting a fuel source, the most influencing factors are cost, reliability and ease of use. These factors score higher than environmental benefits and safety issues; hence, the focus should be on creating awareness among rural people about decentralized renewable energy technologies. These can be implemented locally by communities,making a significant overall contribution towards the national energy supply and environment protection.
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