A campaign for wide use of renewable energy The campaign initiated by Ministry of Panchayati Raj and launched by the state focuses the effective adoption of the renewable energy that would enable the panchayats to achieve the local energy requirements. Solar energy offers an opportunity to replace the archaic source of energy such as kerosene, diesel, wood-fired chulas etc. which can cause health and environmental hazards. It gives a lot of opportunities for employment and income generation. Some of the panchayats have developed their own implementation models with the support of Renewable energy development Agencies of the states which are cost effective and encompassing various environment friendly bio energy technologies. Panchayats owned, promoted and funded system are Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala and many more states.
Some of the examples are
There are solar roof top models, solar kitchens, solar street lighting and solar high mast light owned by the panchayats. These are isolated efforts but need to reach far and wide through the campaign mode of Gram Urja Swaraj. The Ministry of new and Renewable Energy (MNRE) and other related departments have joined hands with the ministry of Panchayati Raj in this venture.
Odanthurai Panchayat is situated in Karamadai block of Coimbatore District.
Due to installation of drinking water plant, new borewells, Overhead tanks and Street lights, the electricity consumption charges of the Panchayat started to increase as such 60% of the Panchayat funds were utilised only for paying Electricity bills. Hence the Panchayat Council decided to pursue Wind-Mill as their alternate source of energy.
The Panchayat council decided to invest the savings amount of Rs.40 lakhs and decided to borrow remaining amount of Rs.1.15 crore from Central Bank of India. The Odanthurai panchayat decided to purchase one acre land in a wind farm, to utilize it for installation of 1 windmill (350 KW) for Power generation. Accordingly, the Windmill was installed, and Odanthurai Panchayat became first local body to own a windmill in Tamil Nadu.
The initiative taken by the GP head, proactive approach of the bank manager of Central Bank of India and the District Collector who made a committee under his chairmanship, and this committee recommended the project to the bank for sanction of loan, were all instrumental in the success of the project. It is a good initiative to tap a source of renewable energy for the benefit of the Panchayat.
However, the present policy does not allow a wheeling arrangement wherein the units generated at one site are adjusted by the Electricity Board against the consumption at another site. The units generated by the Odanthurai windmill are in high tension while the consumption of the GP is in low tension and the present policy does not allow conversion from low tension to high tension for the wheeling arrangement to work. These issues need to be addressed for promoting similar efforts by Gram Panchayats in other States for harnessing the potential of Wind Energy in rural areas, especially in the coastal areas of the country.
Thikekarwadi Gram Panchayat is in the Junnar Block in Pune District of Maharashtra State.
The GP has a total count of 120 households with a cattle capital of 400 and fruit/vegetable cultivation takes place in 300 acres. The Gram Panchayat has established a community Biogas plant in a PPP mode through which 35 households are connected with a provision for additional 40 households. 12 kW Power from the biogas plant is supplied for utilisation by school, street light, temple and GP Office. The biodigested slurry produces Phosphate Rich Manure (PROM) as a solid fertilizer and bio slurry as a liquid fertilizer. Bio slurry produced in the biogas plant is provided to each farmer from the village free of cost, every fortnight for agricultural applications. This initiative has not only increased the income of Gram Panchayat increased, but it has also generated employment in for women and youth of village, and provided biogas for 50 families for cooking.
There are few tangible benefits like Compressed Biogas for cooking to the villagers which helps in reducing the need of LPG and burning of coal/wood for daily energy needs, Phosphate Rich Organic Manure (PROM) as solid fertilizer and slurry as liquid fertilizer. Thus, it helps in reducing the use of chemical fertilizers and ensuring the good health of the soil, which has also increased the agricultural yield as per the villagers. In addition, the generation of electricity reduces the cost of running the plant, as well. Also, there are huge intangible benefits e.g., it is providing environment friendly fuel, reduction in carbon emission, effective rural waste management, reduction in dependency on LPG and a major step towards the self-sufficient village. However, there have been challenges such as high capital cost, fall in cattle count and inadequate capacity utilisation are there which would need to be addressed while going forward.
Source : Ministry of Panchayati Raj
Last Modified : 8/21/2023
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