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  • Author: Stephen Naimoli, Kartikeya Singh
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In 2019, India completed its program to provide electricity connections to every village and every home in the country. However, even though millions more are now connected, problems remain, including unreliable supply of power and a lack of workforce capacity for utilities to serve an expanded customer base. While India’s central government sets national policy, India’s powerful states have jurisdiction over the power sector and are responsible for implementation of central government programs and policies. For foreign stakeholders interested in supporting India’s electrification agenda, this presents an opportunity for them to engage with states to help meet their energy access priorities. To identify key areas for international engagement, CSIS conducted a survey of government, civil society groups, and energy access practitioners in the Indian states of Assam, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, and Rajasthan on their energy access priorities. Opportunities for collaboration include metering and bill collection, operations and maintenance, quality and reliability of supply, and off-grid technologies, including solar-powered pumps and other appliances.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Infrastructure, Electricity, Renewable Energy
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Stephen Naimoli, Kartikeya Singh
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Assam is the most populous and economically active of the northeastern states and thus acts as the nexus between the mainland and the northeast. Due to insurgencies and armed conflict spanning several decades, Assam struggled to deliver many basic services to its citizens, including electricity, and failed to attract major industries. Coupled with the state’s unique topography of Himalayan foothills, forests, and a massive floodplain dominated by the mighty Brahmaputra River, infrastructure development in the state has not been easy. However, with the settling of several conflicts, the state is poised to be the economic engine of India’s northeast and take its place as India’s gateway to southeast Asia. To do so, it is focusing on agriculture, led by a thriving tea industry and energy resources—the state accounts for 15 percent of India’s total crude oil and 50 percent of onshore natural gas output. On the power sector side, Assam has increased the share of its population with electricity access from 44.57 percent in 2015 to 100 percent in 2019. An important measure of the health of the state’s electric power sector is aggregate technical and commercial losses (AT&C), which measure line losses from transmission and distribution equipment, power theft, billing and collection inefficiencies, and customers’ inability to pay. Assam’s AT&C losses in 2015 were 24.2 percent. Under the state’s Power for All plan formed with the central government, the state’s utility Assam Power Distribution Corporation Limited (APDCL) would target AT&C losses of 18.15 percent in 2019. As of August 2019, this goal has virtually been met—APDCL’s AT&C losses are currently 18.2 percent. Under the central government’s Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY) scheme, which aims to improve the financial health of the country’s utilities, Assam has a target of 150,000 smart meters for customers with monthly consumption between 200-500 kilowatt-hours (kWh) by December 2019. As of August 2019, the state has deployed 15,567 smart meters for these customers, 10 percent of its goal. The state also had a target to deploy 31,000 smart meters for customers with monthly consumption of over 500 kWh per month by December 2017, but to date has only deployed 11,881 smart meters, 38 percent of its goal. Assam has a target to install 663 megawatts (MW) of solar power in the state to contribute to the central government’s target of 100 gigawatts by 2022. As of May 2019, data from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy indicate it has installed 22.4 MW, 3.38 percent of its goal.
  • Topic: Development, Energy Policy, Electricity
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Stephen Naimoli, Kartikeya Singh
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Chhattisgarh is a mineral-rich state with abundant coal and iron ore resources and whose coal production gives it an energy surplus, but it is also one of India’s poorest states, with a poverty rate of 40 percent and low human development indicators. Long plagued by left-wing violence, with which it still struggles, Chhattisgarh’s government is trying to diversify the state’s economy by making it an attractive destination for non-extractive industries. Dense forests which house scattered communities coupled with the conflicts have made setting up infrastructure to support household electrification through a centralized grid a challenge for the state government. Absent such infrastructure, the state has been a ripe market for decentralized renewable electrification efforts. Chhattisgarh has increased the amount of its population with electricity access from 84.5 percent in 2015 to 99.67 percent in 2019. An important measure of the health of the state’s electric power sector is aggregate technical and commercial losses (AT&C), which measure line losses from transmission and distribution equipment, power theft, billing and collection inefficiencies, and customers’ inability to pay. Chhattisgarh’s AT&C losses in 2015 were 20.5 percent. Under the state’s 24x7 Power for All plan formed with the central government, Chhattisgarh’s utility Chhattisgarh State Power Distribution Corporation Limited (CSPDCL) would target AT&C losses of 16 percent in 2019. Unfortunately, losses have grown—as of August 2019, they are at 23.28 percent. Under the central government’s Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY) scheme, which aims to improve the financial health of the country’s utilities, Chhattisgarh has a target of 652,146 smart meters for customers with monthly consumption between 200-500 kilowatt-hours (kWh) by December 2019. As of August 2019, the state has not deployed any smart meters for these customers. The state also had a target to deploy 488,307 smart meters for customers with monthly consumption of over 500 kWh by December 2017 but has not deployed any smart meters for those customers either.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Infrastructure, Electricity, Safe Energy
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Stephen Naimoli, Kartikeya Singh
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Odisha struggles with significant challenges, including having some of the poorest and most isolated districts in India. Endowed with rich mineral resources and a long coastline, all the key topographical ingredients are in place to catapult the state’s economic development. To address some of the deep-seeded challenges faced by the state’s population, the state government, led by the Biju Janata Dal, has responded with populist measures that have won it unusual stability in office. Odisha’s governments have in the past shown that they are willing to play risk taker as the state, though shaky in its eventual execution, was an early adopter of power sector reforms. Paired with relative political stability, Odisha’s stature as an investment destination is rising. Those wanting to power it’s economic development will find that the key to success is supporting skills development and entrepreneurship in the power sector while supporting renewable energy integration efforts that pair well with the state’s broader development and service delivery initiatives. Odisha has increased the share of the population with electricity access from 82 percent in 2015 to 100 percent in 2019. An important measure of the health of the state’s electric power sector is aggregate technical and commercial losses (AT&C), which measure line losses from transmission and distribution equipment, power theft, billing and collection inefficiencies, and customers’ inability to pay. Odisha’s AT&C losses in 2015 were 38 percent. Under the state’s “24x7 Power for All” plan formed with the central government, the state’s utilities would target AT&C losses of 20 percent in 2019. As of 2018, the state’s utilities have decreased losses to 28 percent. Unlike the other states in this series, Odisha is not participating in the central government’s Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY) scheme to improve the financial health of the country’s utilities, so it does not have targets for smart meter deployment. While smart meters have not yet been deployed in the state, government officials indicated in interviews that they were working with the central government’s Power Finance Corporation to do so. The city of Bhubaneswar has a target of deploying one million smart meters as part of its “Smart City” plan implementation. Odisha has a target to install 2,377 megawatts (MW) of solar power in the state to contribute to the central government’s target of 100 gigawatts (GW) by 2022. As of July 2019, data from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy indicate it has installed 397.28 MW, 17 percent of its goal.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Electricity, Safe Energy, Power
  • Political Geography: India, Asia
  • Author: Kartikeya Singh
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Issue According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the World Bank, approximately 1.06 billion people around the world still lack access to electricity. Furthermore, both institutions predict that despite efforts to expand universal access, the world will fail to meet the 2030 “sustainable energy for all” (SE4All) target. India remains one of the largest contiguous economic markets of unelectrified people, along with the sub-Saharan Africa region. In India, the challenge of electrification is complicated by politics of electricity, which have left state-owned utilities struggling to expand distribution networks and provide reliable power at below-market rates for residential and agricultural needs. Recognizing the limitations of centralized grid extension, the government of India has plans to achieve universal electrification with the help of off-grid systems, suggesting a sizeable potential market for decentralized energy technologies and business models lasting well into the future. Questions remain that if answered could help development practitioners and scholars understand what factors are affecting access to electricity and what kinds of issues need to be resolved to achieve quality universal access. This brief acknowledges that many institutions at the global and country level are hard at work helping address and analyze the energy access challenge. To further their efforts, this brief compiles the key research needs in energy access, based on extensive interviews conducted in-person and via email 1, with scholars and development practitioners in the energy access sector mainly in India, with a special emphasis on solar photovoltaic (PV) technologies used for electrification.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, World Bank, Electricity, Renewable Energy
  • Political Geography: Africa, India, Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa