India´S Energy: Biomass Cooperatives Essay

3224 words - 13 pages

A portion of growing energy needs of India can be satisfied by utilizing the biomass residues generated by the agricultural activities and growing energy plantations in wastelands. Using this biomass does not violate any climate or sustainability ethics and could generate rural employment. Due to any sort of energy crisis if large scale demand for biomass develops, instead of waste biomass, the greeneries currently being used as fodder and other inputs used in rural industries might be diverted. The existence of proper logistical network is mandatory to face any long term and large scale biomass requirement and also to replace the unsustainable usage of wood by rural population. By creating a structure of biomass cooperatives for collection, densification, transporting and distribution, the biomass energy potential could be efficiently tapped and used. In this paper a two stage hub and spoke model is proposed for collection, briquetting and usage of biomass. Even without any demand from large scale power generation setup, the biomass cooperatives could effectively function by satisfying the needs of existing rural industries and household needs. The biomass briquetting cooperatives will act as an intermediate transient stage to leapfrog to large scale sustainable biomass energy utilization by agricultural India.
India is an agrarian economy till date. Around 70% of its population lives in villages, agriculture is their main work, they are poor and lack basic facilities like electricity[1]. The rural population depends on firewood and other biomass for their house hold energy needs and they know it is inconvenient but it is the cheapest option, most of the times it is free [2]. Though the population of the country is growing cultivated area is declining. Due to migration to cities there is labor shortage in villages and labor intensive crops are neglected [3]. Hence there is shortage of food stuff production and many items are imported, particularly pulses [4] and edible oil. The country is growing due to the development of service and manufacturing industries, but still the rate of poverty reduction very slow and regional disparity is high[5]. The rural poor lack access to education and technical skills and the government is not in a position give enough jobs to people who leave agriculture. Even if people are ready to work in industries due to skill mismatch most of the rural poor cannot be redeployed in the newly developing industries. The industrialization processes are severely intruding into the life of rural population and alienate them in their own place even at this slow growth rate. Any new project which involves the rural economy should be sustainable and accommodative. Silvio Hamacher et al who studied Brazilian Biodiesel Program conclude that the proposals which do not include the farming families should be rejected even if they are economical. For accepting them social inclusion and income...

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