Off-Grid Rural Electrification Experiences from South Asia
South Asia accounts for around 31 % of the global population without access to electricity. While there is no denying the fact that the electrification rate is increasing, such a situation continues to exist despite several initiatives and policies to support electrification efforts by the respective country governments. The challenges to enhance electricity access are manifold including technical, financial, institutional and governance barriers. Based on an extensive literature review, this chapter attempts to highlight the rural electrification situation at the regional and country level in South Asia. It also performs a comparative analysis to exploit cross learning potential and suggest specific boosters that could serve as input for policy and technology review and assist future electrification efforts in the region. Here we have focused on renewable energy based mini-grids and stand-alone systems and also covered conventional grid extension. We also raise some pertinent issues and attempt to find their solutions. The household connection needs to be improved considerably through a targeted approach and innovative micro-lending model. At the same time the electricity supply also needs to be enhanced, such as through distributed power projects utilizing locally available renewable resources, to ensure that electricity supply to connected households in sustainable and supply constraints do not inhibit extending electrification to virgin areas or intensification of existing villages. Developing a regulatory mechanism to extend the tariff fixation for mini-grid projects and providing cross-subsidies to ensure long term sustainability of such projects is also highlighted. Finally, economic linkages, access to credit and institutional arrangements also need to be organised appropriately, especially for off-grid rural electrification to facilitate successful outcomes.
KeywordsSouth Asian Country Biomass Gasifier Electrification Rate Village Electrification Capital Subsidy
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