Modern Bioenergy Technologies for Universalizing Energy Access in India: Solving the Conflicting Challenges of Climate Change and Development

By Balachandra Patil.

Published by The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

India’s energy challenges are three-pronged: presence of significant share of population lacking access to modern energy services; imperative of expanding energy system to bridge this access gap as well as to meet the demands of a fast-growing economy; and the need to partner with major countries in mitigating the threat of climate change. The ideal outcome is to address all these challenges without compromising on any one. In this paper, we present an in-depth assessment of the feasibility of modern bioenergy technologies as effective solution for providing affordable, reliable and adequate access to both electrical and cooking energy for all rural households. This has been done by performing an assessment of available bioenergy potential, proposing a mechanism for effective rural energy governance through appropriate institutions, policies and stakeholder partnerships, business models for energy delivery, and developing a scenario to study the economic, energy resource and environmental implications, and performing the financial feasibility analysis. The proposed scenario targets 100% access to modern energy carriers for the rural population by 2030 through a judicious mix of conventional and biomass-based energy systems, and the results suggest that such a proposal needs an investment of about US$35 billion. The estimated annual cost is about US$9 billion for a greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation potential of 213 million tonne of CO2e at an abatement cost of US$41/tonne of CO2e. It is proposed that the delivery of energy services would be through micro-energy enterprises and energy service companies (ESCOs) would function as intermediaries between these enterprises and the international carbon market in aggregating the certified emission reductions (CERs) and trading them under clean development mechanism (CDM). Results suggest that the proposition is profitable with internal rate.

Keywords: Climate Change, Sustainable Energy, Energy Access, Bioenergy

International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses, Volume 5, Issue 3, July 2014, pp.41-55. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.031MB).

Dr. Balachandra Patil

Department of Management Studies and Centre for Sustainable Technologies, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, Karnataka, India

Dr. Balachandra Patil is a faculty at the Department of Management Studies and Centre for Sustainable Technologies, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore. He received his Ph.D. in Energy and Environment from IISc in 2001. He has about 26 years of research and teaching experience in the field of Energy, Environment, Climate Change and Technology Management at IISc and as a visiting expert at Harvard University (USA), United Nations Development Programme, Asian Institute of Technology and Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research. His research expertise includes energy & environmental economics and policy, technology and sustainability, energy access, sustainable development, climate change mitigation, and renewable energy. He has investigated about 30 research and consultancy projects with funding from UNDP, European Commission, World Bank, SIDA, AIT, TERI, IGIDR, DST, and government and private organizations.


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