Renewable Energy Technology Management Promoting Village Energy Security
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03-04-2010, 10:06 AM

Title: Renewable Energy Technology Management Promoting Village Energy Security & Sustainable Development -- A case study of village Radhapur.
Trainee name: Indranil Ghosh, M. Tech Energy & Environment Management, Kurukshetra University
Organization: Society for Development Alternatives, New Delhi
Guide: Mr. Manoj Mahata, Program Manager, Energy Systems,
Development Alternatives
Faculty guide: Prof. Smita Choudhry, Institute of Environmental Studies, Kurukshetra University
The objective of the study is substantial analysis of the intervention between the technology and the society concerned. The study was conducted using structured group discussions and chats with villagers at various levels of the advancement of the project and implimentation and analysis of the baseline data obtained before the actual project and implimentation initiated. It includes the use of different techno-social aspect as a tool in the development of the Gasifier project and implimentation in the Radhapur.
This paper presents a chronological description of the events that have taken place in development of the gasifier technology for electricity generation in the village, highlighting the role of techno-social intervention in every step of development. Chapter I provides the context of the village profile, highlighting the approaches and activities of the overall project and implimentation. It also describes in brief the individual three phases of the project and implimentations along with their achievements. Chapter II starts with answering the reason for selecting Gasifier technology for Radhapur and ends describing the technology and its capacity.
The Methodology section in Chapter III is the most crucial of all as it describes the most important phase of the project and implimentation, "Techno-Social Intervention". One must able to realize the actual perspective of society towards the development of technology in this chapter. This chapter highlights the various issues visualized at different phases of the project and implimentation and tries to answer them in a very socio-economic and rational manner. Chapter IV gives the glimpse of the achievements and success achieved so far in providing electricity to the villagers, certain innovative ideas for efficient maintenance of Plant load and promotion of enterprise for the overall sustainable development. The report concludes with the lesson learnt from this tiny part of the overall big project and implimentation.
The outcome of this study would benefit the readers with the learnings of the Techno-social intervention in any rural development program. This
study enables various possible value addition of the pooled produce in such a way so as to fetch the best possible component of the technology. The basic strategy adopted here is collectivization of the villagers and making them understand the aim of the program; sustainable development.
Environmental and climate protection as well as the related challenge of implementing sustainable energy supply systems are issues of great importance in current development cooperation. Energy is a key driver to sustain an impressive economic growth of any place. There is hardly any area where energy input is not required though in a varying measure. So, it is quite important to ensure a sustainable flow of all forms of energy. That is not all; as energy should also be used quite efficiently consumed. Energy conservation is all the more needed in the present day scenario. As of now, in India, around 75-80% of our population lives in the villages, where conventional energy supplies are quite deficient. But the possibility of alternative form of energy is always persisting; the only concern is way of looking towards it.
Recently, the concept of rural electrification via Decentralized Distributed Generation (DDG) has come as a boon for the rural areas. This particular project and implimentation for village electrification using 10kW Biomass Gasifier is in tune with the Govt. of India's Ministry of Science and Technology, Department of Science and Technology (DST) as a funding agency for the village Radhapur, Shivpuri Dist. (MP). The implementing organization is Developmental Alternatives (DA); a Delhi based Non Governmental Organization (NGO). The key objective of the project and implimentation is "To establish a community managed, local natural resource based, energy services approach to economic development and sustainable livelihoods".
1.1.1 Site Selection
Radhapur, a small village located in Shivpuri district of Madhya Pradesh under Badrakha Panchayat in Pichhore block of, 55 Kms away from Jhansi (see Map I). Like many other un-electrified villages, Radhapur is also facing huge energy crisis due to ever raising diesel price. This village is connected by a 1km long kuccha road and approx. 2.5 km away from existing grid supply.
A well structured questionnaire was framed for each of the household to collect the baseline information about the demography and education (Table I), land and cattle holdings and agricultural produce and energy consumptions and demand. The study was based on an end use approach within which the existing energy use patterns as well as the project and implimentationed demands of the villagers were evaluated. Accordingly, the collected data was thoroughly analyzed to evolve a suitable load management plan for village electrification as per the season (Annexure I). Due consideration was accorded to the local needs and there from to the demand and supply requirements of energy use in the village. In totality, the following few parameters were focused in the first instance through closely held discussions with the villagers:
> energy requirement
> technical - commercial feasibility
> initial readiness to pay for better mode of lighting
> overall sustainability of the project and implimentation
1.1.2 Site accessibility
Village Radhapur is amidst a forest area. The village is accessible from Jhansi via a 55 Kms stretch long road. Due to non availability of assured electricity and dependency on fossil fuel, lack of awareness but willing for an alternative mode of energy provider made this village ideal to implement the Gasifier. The primary survey report gives the details of the energy requirement and the expenditure by the villagers on meeting their energy needs. Moreover, the ample supply of locally available biomass was another reason for selection of the site. The best point of the village is unlike other villages, there were no such issues of caste and political intervention.
1.2.1 Demography
Village Radhapur is a small displaced (by Indian Army to develop their firing range) village situated at 55 km away from Jhansi town of U.P. of central India. Total no of household is 87 out of which 16 are from tribal cast and having no land even for residential. Rajput (in dominance), Pal (OBC), Adhivashi (ST) and Ahirwar are the main castes amongst its 87 odd households. The population is 456 out of which adult male 115,
adult female 103, child (M) 131, and child (F) 107.
1.2.2 Weather characteristics
Radhapur enjoys hot and humid climate with clear summer months lasting from April to mid July. The rainy season sets in after mid July to September with winter months slated for November to February. The maximum temperature is about 420C in May while minimum of 120C in December. Though the village has around 550 acres of fertile land, but due to low water table due to irregular rainfall and ever rising diesel prises most of the villagers are not in a position to take even two crops.
1.2.3 Literacy rate
The literacy rate in Radhapur is as low as 60%. Only 5 people above X Std, of which one is pursuing graduation and 46, are in between V to IX. Due to unavailability of electricity, there is no post sun set activities, even the children don't study in the evening.
More than 90% of the village community is engaged in the area of agriculture for its basic sustenance. Some of the villagers also work on the construction sites outside the village. There is just one person (the school master) in the government employment. Animal husbandry, milking and daily labour are other sources of income. Average monthly income per household is Rs 1400- 1500.
1.2.5 Agriculture Produce
This village is quite deficient in terms of irrigation facilities, which results in low productivity. The village has around 550 acres of fertile land, but due to low water table and ever rising diesel prises most of the villagers are not in a position to take even two crops. The agriculture land is mainly use for Rabi crop (wheat, musterd, mutter, black gram) in 91 Ac; Zaid Crop (mainly vegetable) in 17 Ac and Kharif crop (Ground nut, pulses, til) in 121 Ac.
Except few bullocks drawn rahat almost all farmers use diesel pumps (5HP) and flood irrigation practices. The irrigation practices are not only energy/resource inefficient but also costly. Dug well is the only source of water.
As far as natural resources are concerned agro residues, fuel woods (mainly weeds) and dung are few types which villager uses for their day to day life. One nearby seasonal nallah carries water for around 4-5 month and grows enough biomass (mainly Ipomea), which is some time used as fuel. Domestic biogas plants are installed in 13 household but currently not in function.
1.2.6 Socio- Economic status
As far as economic status is concerned there are 16 tribal families from poorest of the poor section. 9 big farmer (with > 3 Ac land), 31 middle class farmers (with 2 to 3 Ac land), 27 small farmers (with < 2 Ac land) and remaining 20 landless households.
There is only 2 grocery shop, though most of the villagers purchase only during emergency. Post office, middle school is in Panchayat village Badarkha.
Villagers of Radhapur are mainly involved in agriculture, animal husbandry and daily labour. Undoubtedly the land is fertile but due to unavailability of electricity no value addition in any produce. Major agro produces are wheat, ground nuts, til, mustard and black gram.
There are 8 private dug wells, 2 govt dug wells and 3 hand pumps. Except 1 Panchayat hall there is not common infrastructure in the village. The present energy consumption pattern is as follows:
a. Kerosene (lighting fuel) : Approx 3000 L/year worth
Rs. 33,000
b. Diesel (irrigation fuel) : Approx 9000 L/year worth
Rs. 3,60,000
c. Wood and Dung cakes (cooking fuel) : Approx 35,000 kg /month
This economic out-flow is the main reason for their economic backwardness.
1.2.7 Infrastructure availability
Radhapur scores too low on the infrastructural availability considering the fact that it is a remotely located un-electrified village. There is only a Primary School and a Manoranjan bhawan in the village. The nearest police station is at 3 Kms from the village, Himmitpur. There is no dedicated transport facility for the village; however some villagers have their own motor bikes.
1.3 Overall Project
To establish a community managed, local natural resource based, "Energy Services Approach to Economic Development and Sustainable Livelihoods" and to demonstrate its techno-economic viability.
1.4 Project Objectives
a) Demonstration of Biomass Gasifier based power generating electricity using locally available Ipomea (besaram).
b) Management of demand and supply of energy giving priority to agriculture, domestic and commercial need.
c) Facilitate energy based growth of various enterprise models to enhance rural economy promoting sustainable livelihood.
1.5 Approaches and Strategies
The occupation profile of the village is agriculture, animal husbandry and daily labour. The nature of all the problems is seasonal. The programme is designed to build, strengthen and catalyse the "demand & supply approach" perspective in addressing the energy and energy related issues to ensure economic development. The solution lies in balancing of the two. While balancing this energy equation focus was on the following solutions:
1. Generate enough electricity within the village to meet all agricultural, domestic and community need for energy.
2. Creation of community managed model (VEC) for managing all energy related issues through proper production and distribution of electricity.
3. Encouraging and building the capacity of potential micro entrepreneurs from within the villagers creating sustainable livelihood.
4. Protection of available biomass and energy plantation in high rate to ensure uninterrupted supply of fuel for the gasifier.
5. Enhancing the economic status of the villagers by:
> reduction in the cost of irrigation
> provision of required basic services in the village such as flour mill, dal mill etc
> popularizing energy efficient practices such as domestic biogas plant, smoke less chullas and sprinkler system for irrigation
1.6 The above mentioned approaches and strategies have been modified into III phases:
I. Community mobilization phase
All activities of phase-I has completed. Though initially community's response was not encouraging enough, but presently the whole community is responding well and taking active participation in all decision making processes particularly operation of power plant and energy demand-supply management related issues. Under this phase we have completed:
S Basic level community mobilization and formation of Village Energy Committee (VEC) which is now empowered to manage day-to-day (routine) work such as bill collection, power plant operation etc.
S Conducted 3 exposure visits, 1 focus group discussion and approx 22 meetings to empower and inform the whole community of the village through VEC and clearance of all doubts regarding the energy service model, villagers' role and responsibilities, services / benefits villagers will avail on completion of this project and implimentation and the regarding management modalities.
S Completed base line survey to analyze the ground situation to develop the load management strategy and other development indicators.
S Opened VEC's bank account for maintaining the balance of the revenue.
S Acquiring land for power plant (Donated by one of the VEC member).
II. Socio- techno intervention
Energy planning is crucial for securing technically safe, economically efficient and environmentally friendly energy management. Energy Management Planning (EMP), mainly in cost minimization and managing the needs subject to a series of technological, social and demand-satisfactory constraints. I was assigned the responsibility for completing this phase. As a part of the whole project and implimentation, this phase was the most exploratory and significant. With the mindset of the villagers of Radhapur, rather than bringing their thinking at the level of technology, taking the technology at their level was really a challenging task.
For the purpose, I was deputed in the village to reflect the complex linkages that exist among the technology (Gasifier Project) and the society; in short the techno- social intervention. The issues, solutions and the achievements are broadly discussed in the Chapter III of the report.
III. Techno-commercial model implementation
All most all activities of Phase-III have been initiated and so far we have completed the followings:
S Completed land filling and fenced the total area of the power house.
S Constructed Gasifier cum engine room, and a shade for processed biomass storing. Commissioned M/S Ankur Scientific supplier 10kW biomass gasifier at Radhapur. Earlier this equipment was tested in TARAgram Orchha (DA's site office) to see its performance and also to train field coordinator as well as village operator in a controlled situation.
S Installed a 2 HP motor driven biomass cutter and engaged one villager to ensure un-interrupted biomass supply as a micro enterprise mode.
S Installed T&D (3 phase) line, which passes through majority households and few critical wells. So far 22 household has been connected by service cable, meter and MCB. Individual house owner is arranging their respective internal wiring.
S Purchased 2 irrigation pumps and tested their performance, which will be used to provide paid irrigation services to farmers.
S The team has motivated one villager to set up the flour mill of 5 HP capacities again in enterprise mode.
2.1.1 Energy need of the village Radhapur
It is almost clear now that the energy requirement of the village is mainly for irrigation purpose as compared to any other service. A preliminary survey of the load requirement for various services such as domestic, irrigation, community as a whole and enterprise gives the following data as under:
> Number of household: 87
> Domestic load : 3-4 kW peak for 4 to 12 hours per day
> Irrigation load : 8- 25 kW peak for 2 to 14 hours per day (not possible to supply through 10kW system)
> Enterprise load : 3.5 to 8.5 kW peak fro 4 to 12 hours per day
The data clearly mention that the maximum need is for irrigation. This is because of the fact that due to irregular and scanty rainfall in the region, the water level is very low. Also the ever increasing diesel price is holding back many villagers from taking two crops at different season. It is also clear that this 10kW power supply will also not suffice the complete need and demand of the villagers. It might be possible that the financing agency is convinced for another 10kW gasifier system. But before that, it is our duty along with the villagers' cooperation to show the current system is running successfully.
2.2.2 Comparative analysis of the various feasible renewable energy
Experiences show that provision of electricity to structurally weak regions does not automatically lead to the desired catalytic effect on regional development. What is needed to stimulate broader rural development is coordinated and decentralized approaches that are open to the technological energy solution envisaged (options: Photovoltaic system, biomass, and biogas).
The solar option: The scenario of the village is such that even though the sun rays is constant, there is not enough open land in the village under Gram Panchayat or any other villager where the solar photovoltaic panels can be installed.
The biogas option: The concept of biogas plant for electricity generation for each household along with electricity for irrigation requires a gigantic amount of Dung. The total production of dung in the village is almost 3400 Kgs (with an average of 45 Kgs per 75 household). Hence, the option of community based biogas plant for electricity generation meeting up the total electricity load also faded up. However, 13 household in the village were using this technology on individual basis to produce electricity used for cooking and single bulb lighting until recently (see Table II). This area is under consideration and survey has also been done for the reason of not functioning of the system.
The biomass option: Last but not the least, the option of biomass generated electricity, the Gasification technology looked feasible in the region as there is availability of plenty of woody biomass around the village. The biomass Ipomoea chopped into 1" pieces with calorific value of around 1200 kcal/Nm3 can be used for the running a 10 kW gasifier. On an average 150Kgs of woody biomass is required to run the gasifier. Compared with diesel technologies, both initial investment costs and operation and maintenance costs are higher. Biomass technology can therefore be more cost-effective than diesel technology only when diesel fuel costs are fairly high (Rs 40 per liter), which is the case in Radhapur village.
This calculation swung the minds of the DA team for promoting gasifier based technology for electricity generation in Radhapur village. Here arise the questions of uninterrupted supply of biomass to run the power plant.
A survey of the energy plantation was done effectively around the village and found out that almost 100Acres of forest land near the village is having ample source of beseram. Efforts along with the cooperation of villagers are being made to bring the land of 3Km X 30 ft along the riverside (around 1.5 Kms from village) under energy plantation.
Biomass gasification is a process of converting solid biomass fuel (like wood-Ipomoea) into a combustible gas. It is commonly known as the producer gas (CO + H2), which results due to a series of thermo-chemical reactions. The gas is a low heating value fuel, with a calorific value of
1000-1200 kcal/Nm3. Nearly 2.5-3.0 Nm3 of gas can be derived via the
gasification of about 1.5kg of air-dried biomass. It is then be used in an energy-efficient manner with a fairly good control mechanism to meet electricity demands in the village.
Locally available beseram having ash content less than 2-3% and moisture content 12-13% is suitable for gasification. The biomass chiefly contains cellulose, hemi-cellulose and lignin having an average composition of C6H10O5 with slight variations. In gasification, around 1.5 kg of biomass is subjected to partial Pyrolysis process under sub-stoichiometric conditions with the air quantity being limited to 1.5-1.8 kg of air/kg of biomass. The resultant mixture of gases generated during the gasification process is called producer gas, contains CO and H2 and is combustible. The raw producer gas also contains tar and particulate matter, which have to be removed, as they are harmful to the engine.
2.2.2 System operation
The installed gasifier system in Radhapur is an open top downdraft reactor in which the biomass of specified specifications is fed at the top. The air is partially drawn from the top and partially through secondary air nozzles surrounding the combustion zone by a suction blower during the start-up and by the engine during normal operation. Both air/gas and the feedstock move downward as the reaction proceeds.
In the reactor, biomass feedstock undergoes drying and de-volatilisation in the upper zones and produces charcoal. The volatile matters undergo oxidation in the combustion zone, with air being partially drawn from the open top and partially supplied by air nozzles located after the de-volatilisation zone. The gas then flow through a hot charcoal bed in which the tar is broken down to maintain relatively low tar levels.
Fie 2
Fie. 1 The hot gas is cleaned in hot condition in a cyclone separator. The hot dust laden gas exiting from the cyclone separator is led through a cooling and cleaning train, where the raw gas is cooled to ambient temperature. This system further reduces the levels of tar and particulate matter. The cooled gas is further cleaned in fabric filter. These are the features enabling the engines to run for long operating hours with maintenance requirements. Like any other gaseous fuel, producer gas affords much better control over power levels when compared to solid fuel. This also paves the way for more efficient and cleaner operation.
The cooled and cleaned gas then flows to the flare during the start up period and to the engine during normal operation. The mechanical energy thus derived is coupled with the dynamo for electrical power generation.
As the gasifier system is under suction, the possibility of air leaking into the system under adverse circumstances cannot be entirely ruled out. Such ingress of air into the system may lead to the build-up of a combustible mixture. In presence of a hot source such as the lighting up torch or the gas flare igniters; a flame travelling backwards could be started leading to a backfire or an explosion. In order to prevented such serious damage, and ensure reliability & safety in a foolproof manner the following safety features have been incorporated in the gasifier system:
¢ Water pumps are provided at suitable locations to prevent the leakage of air
¢ A water bubbler in the gas line to the flare is a safety element of proven effectiveness. It is essentially a flame trap consisting of a water reservoir in the gas flow path that prevents any backward flame travel into the rest of the system
¢ Venturimetre is provided with the system at different locations such as in the filter zone, transmission zone where the gas is moving out of the system and would be entering the engine to know the pressure difference.
2.2.3 Capacity of gasifier
There are around 87 odd households in the village Radhapur that would be availing the benefit of biomass based lighting. For the efficient utilization of the gasifier system, use of CFL has been recommended and even being implemented by the villagers. Operational hours and the load management of the system are totally being based on the requirement. However, at the initial phase, the operator has been directed to run the system for 4 hrs daily. The overall capacity of the plant is 10 kW, but the current PLF is at 50%. The expected energy demand of the village is as under:
> Number of household: 87
> Domestic load : 3-4 kW peak for 4 to 12 hours per day
> Irrigation load : 8- 25 kW peak for 2 to 14 hours per day (not possible to supply through 10kW system)
> Enterprise load : 3.5 to 8.5 kW peak fro 4 to 12 hours per day
A wood cutting machine is available at the site, which cuts it to a uniform size of about 1x1 inches. It is then fed to the hopper of the gasifier via a door opening arrangement from the top. The opening and
Fig. 4
closing of the door is carried out manually. The reactor gets the air and solid fuel and changes them into a gaseous fuel known as the Producer gas via a partial combustion process called Pyrolysis.
3.1.1 Techno-Social Intervention
The following chapter outlines the study's methodological approach. The study's intent was first and foremost to draw the findings of the techno-social intervention for the gasifier based electricity generation technology. The empirical study was carried out based upon the stay in the village continuously for 4-5 days each week in the village from June 24 to July 30, 2009 and on daily basis in the month of August. This consisted of continuous conversation with the villagers regarding the short and long term benefits of the gasifier technology.
The empirical analysis generally followed a qualitative approach. The purpose of techno-socio intervention and implementation of the same is to provide practical orientation for development cooperation in the form of best practices to promote sustainable electricity supply with DDG based Gasifier technology to a rural society.
Remote rural areas in developing countries are often characterized by a high dispersion of consumers, with long distances to the next larger sized village. Due to their socioeconomic conditions, technology conditions, rural households can usually only afford small electric appliances like lamps or a radio. As a result, their overall demand for electricity is low, which means low load factors for the supplying. This implies that rural areas often have a low electricity consumption density at household level. Electricity is mainly used at night for lighting, entertainment (like television and radio). But the main consumption of the electricity is for seasonal agricultural purposes, the result being daily and seasonally fluctuating demand patterns.
3.1.2 Arrangements for the stay in the village
The Radhapur village is also not different from the other rural village in India, except that what I have observed is the acceptance and enthusiasm for new RE technology. As the village is very far away from the Jhansi city (55 Kms), it is very hard for each day travel to the village and look after the proceedings. Hence, for completion of my study, I was deputed in village itself. I practically realized the famous saying "early to bed, early to raise keeps healthy, wealthy & wise". The villagers were very cooperative with me in every sense of need and requirement. The day starts at around 6 in the morning and ends with the sunset. It really shows the need of power in the village as there is no post sunset activity except Bhajan and Kirtan and gossiping.
My stay in for certain period with the villagers made me realize with their various different issues and queries regarding our system. As the village is not enough financially strong, everybody in the village thinks with a monetary mindset regarding every issue, I too had to explain in the same fashion, basic word being "how much". In reality, if directly monitored from the field is done, helps achieve the desired goals easily. Same here, monitoring in the field directly made me realize "The principal driving forces behind this reform movement about the technology among the villagers include:
a) the poor performance of the state-run electricity sector, in terms of high costs and political intervention.
b) the inability of the state sector to finance needed expenditures on new and alternative source of energy.
c) the need of the villagers for electricity as soon as possible, as they fade up with the increasing price of diesel and poor rainfall in the region.
3.1.3 Problem Dimensions and Activities: approach to issues and execution
The purpose of the present study is to answer the main research interventions between the society and the technology. This also provides practical orientation for development cooperation in the form of best practices using the present technology to promote sustainable electricity supply with DDG based gasifier system.
To reach this goal, we had chosen a relatively broad approach along the following main problem dimensions. The problem dimensions were analyzed both conceptually and in the practical dimensions through the complex linkage between the technology and society. The potential development impacts of rural electrification in Radhapur relate to its direct effect on basic needs and activities as well as its indirect effect on income generation and employment, and they depend on what application the energy service is designed for.
> Social conditions
> Project management
> Development impacts
All the above mentioned dimensions are dealt as per the activity wise approach and project and implimentation execution for individual phase. This report analyses the promotion of biomass based gasification technology among the villagers of Radhapur drawing a particular attention to the consistency of the technology and the local public interventions in the development of such innovative project and implimentation. We follow an economic academic approach, by putting an emphasis on social and institutional factors (i.e. quality of local co-ordination, propensity to collective action and local system of governance) which are likely to be considered as driving forces leading to sustainable livelihood.
We present the determinants that characterize the societal context in which people take their decisions and behave. This concerns not only the organizational arrangements (structure of community networks, propensity to co-operation and collective action, etc.) but also the regulation framework system (formation of VEC, local system of decision and rules of action, etc.). In short, we argue that the sustainable diffusion of our gasifier system is mainly related to the local societal context.
Technology dynamics are characterized by a complex interplay between community and technology. It is on this basis that public technology intervention oriented toward energy development is mandatory for promotion of sustainable livelihood. Although often still hazy, the idea of sustainable development is gaining ground in the village. In detail, this study helped to:
a) Tackle competitive and interactive relationships among different communities and gasifier system,
b) Search for optimal patterns of electricity distribution and consumption with minimized economic costs,
c) Generate a number of decision alternatives and energy innovations through VEC, allowing comprehensive tradeoffs between social and commercial objectives, and
d) Apply the proposed project and implimentation for a long term energy solution, such that plans for cost-effective allocation of energy resources and services would generate.
3.1.4 Activity wise approach to issues and execution: experience and learnings
Community ownership feelings: A very crucial point is the need for local communities to feel they are stakeholders in any proposed scheme. This was the first activity done for the techno-social integration. Villagers were made felt both proactive and empowered. At the very least, farmers and villagers felt more involved when they are consulted and their opinions were taken into account.
Some of the benefits noted where this has happened include prompt payment of bills, usually in full and with some consumers paying amounts in advance through mobilization of local resources and skills which was potential for demand-side management
Formation of VEC and women empowerment: Village Energy Committee was formed keeping the motive to build the leadership & management quality and women empowerment. Hence, the committee of
13 has 4 women members
en Tnnji l>m-mm, lhama>*- fniti ijrii-rnfjfi f« mi;, urn
Fig. 5
made from all the hamlets in the village to avoid future social turbulence. The social dilemma of the villagers where ghungta pratha is still prevailing, this work was bit tidious. But, the team made it possible to make the villagers understand the women power and their decision making capacity in any group. In the context of this, the meter connection has also been provided in the name of ladies of the household. The only motive behind this is bringing the women folks to forefront, so that decision taking capacity of them is lifted up.
Bank account opening in the name of VEC: To maintain a
Tj JUL Jflffl
Fig 6
having issues that the VEC member can took out money without notifying the villagers. It was resolved showing the bank pass book and the stamp of the "Sachiv",
who is member of
Land for power plant is of one of the VEC
member: The villagers were having complaints
transparency and account of the finance that is and will be generated through the gasifier project and implimentation, a bank account was opened in the VEC where the initial amount of meter connection (per household Rs 600) has been deposited. The villagers were
that the owner of the land where the Gasifier has been installed would be getting much benefit and even he himself is one of the VEC members. I personally made them convinced by reading out and showing the agreement done on the legal stamp paper with the land owner that says "neither me, nor any of my family members will ever claim for that piece of land". This agreement was done between the VEC and the owner of the land.
Activity sharing concept: Based on the capacity, ability and interest of
the villagers, the core working group has been formed in the village. As the Rajput community is in dominance and rich in the village, it is quite clear that they won't perform any labor work. Hence, while plant installation and commissioning and for other civil work, few member of that community was made local supervisor. Whereas, the Adhivashi communities have laborers, hence they were made to do the labor work on daily wage system. This was just with a social motive to create a peer mindset of cooperation and togetherness among the villagers. The poorer people will be benefited much that might help for future payment of electricity bills.
Microenterprise for biomass supply: As not all the villagers have land
for irrigation, they work on daily wage basis to meet the daily needs in other villages or on some bodies land. To create a self employment generation in the village itself, the option of biomass supplier on daily basis at a rate of Rs 1.20 per Kilogram of dry biomass was kept in from of the villagers. As mentioned in the above issue that work group is as per the activity and interest of the village tradition, a person has been nominated from labor class for the enterprise of the biomass.
VEC meeting and the village temple:
A social-social intervention, the villagers have certain minor issues within themselves. Hence, to conduct the meetings with the VEC member and the villagers, a common temple has been
decided where nobody has any issues. VEC meet twice a month to discuss the ongoing process of the system and if there is any need in O&M of the gasifier. Even they sort out the queries of the villagers.
Lying down of Transmission and Distribution line: The T&D line was
laid down through the best possible and shortest distance in the village. Social context was is mind for this line as to cover maximum wells on its way along with the household. As electricity for irrigation was prime demand for the villagers, this was done so. However, the Adhivashi area which is under range field, might not take our service. For them too a transmission point has been created in the last pole. Village power distribution map (see Map II) will show the entire T&D line and route.
Household Transmission line & internal wiring: As said earlier, the villagers of Radhapur think all activities in the terms of "money", hence we also have to compromise ourselves somewhere or the other. Even though the household service line used is of 2.5mm dual core costing about Rs 8 a meter, the internal wiring is done by the villagers themselves using a simple wire. But as recommended by us and explained about the electricity bill, they have put CFL bulb only. Internal wiring has been done in phase wise so that the load is distributed equally in three phases and loss due to
transmission, load management and electricity theft can be checked.
Knowledge of meter and its connection: The villagers of Radhapur were convinced about what is meter, how it looks like and why they need to pay for the service by practically showing them the meter. A depository
amount of Rs 600 has been charged from each household for the connection through VEC. The
service has been provided in the name of female person of the house (a step towards women empowerment). A fine system of Rs 10 has been imposed for late
connection which will be charged may be in installment from those who does not get connected at the first phase of connection. However the villagers have understood the "fee for service" concept and at first go 22 household had taken the connection.
Community load connection in social aspect: The community connection particularly for the temple and government chabutra through street lighting has been asked by the villagers of Rajput community. But as far as other hamlet of the society is concerned, they have issue as "if the street light is not falling to my garden, why I should pay for the service". So in social context it was decided that street light service is made free in the trial period and the community load should be charged.
Generation and distribution of electricity: Electricity production at the rate of 10 kW per hour and proper distribution of it totally depends on the load. The expected demand and distribution of load of the village is as follows:
> Number of household: 87
> Domestic load : 3-4 kW peak for 4 to 12 hours per day
> Irrigation load : 8- 25 kW peak for 2 to 14 hours per day
> Enterprise load : 3.5 to 8.5 kW peak for 4 to 12 hours per day
As it is clear from the data that load for the irrigation is maximum and the capacity of the plant is just 10kW with an efficiency of 85% power generation. It becomes very difficult to convince the people about the load management. With through understanding of the capacity and discussion with VEC, it was decided that domestic consumption will be secondary, primarily focusing for irrigation. It was made possible to make the society convinced for running 3 pumps of 2HP at a time for irrigation and running other 3 pumps of other villager on alternate day basis. Priority would be given for those having much requirement based on land holding.
A tentative load distribution of the power plant based on certain assumptions (capacity of the gasifier) non-negotiable requirements priority wise has been formulated (see Annexure I). The entire spectrum of load management is an out come of series of participatory planning process where villagers share their experiences and expectation. Though we have considered all practical (technical and social) parameters while developing load management/scheduling charts, there remains certain limitations that may arise in due course if time:
¢ The foremost limitation is that we (VEC) do not have the control over absolute demand. We at the most can streamline the demand pattern.
¢ Domestic load assumed while calculation is the highest possible load immerged out from door- to -door survey. But actual penetration of domestic market will be slow and will be dependent of various other factors such as quality of energy service, agriculture productivity, success full implementation of value added enterprises and the disposable income villagers will have.
¢ Managing irrigation load at a peak demand is really a formidable challenge and becomes the socio-economic function from mere techno-social function.
¢ The entire scheme of load management is based on assumptions which even might vary in practice.
3.1.5 Revenue model for domestic load: Understanding the need and capability of the villagers for paying the bill for their domestic consumption, a revenue model has been prepared. It is yet to be implemented in the village as yet due to certain minor technical issues with the gasifier supply is not continuous. Even the micro enterprise for flour mill is paved in line and would be in function shortly, the revenue generation of the same has to be formulated along with the revenue for the service for irrigation. Tariff structure of the domestic load is provided in the Annexure II, which is yet to be implemented. But the previous learnings suggest that, this would be accepted by the villagers as they would definitely conserve power to reduce the bill.
Development Initiatives: Our whole project and implimentation as cleared from the objective is Energy Services Approach to Economic Development and Sustainable Livelihood; the prime motto is to develop the enterprise in micro level and managed by VEC as a governing body. To leverage fund to set up enterprises using govt. schemes, a trial for entitlements through banks and local government is being tried. The community as a whole is showing great response towards our efforts and this is really being encouraging for our team. Below is the schematic representation of creating an environment for Microenterprise development in the village Radhapur.
4.1.1 Social Developments: A 13 member VEC has been formed. This
VEC includes representatives from all cast and including 4 women
member. This is for lifting up the status of the women and making them
strong enough to take decision. Overall the VEC is now empowered and
informed enough to take their day to day decisions. Though our team is
still facilitating the VEC with the strategy formulation and management
skills through participatory planning process, incorporating all issues
raised by the VEC members and / or any villagers, the day is not far in the
Radhapur village when VEC will be completely empowered.
Established VEC owned microenterprise mechanism for biomass collection and power plant management (generation, distribution and bill collection). Even the operator of the power plant would be getting his monthly salary from the VEC.
Team has developed a seasonal load management strategy as per certain assumptions and requirements through participatory planning process. Even a differential tariff plan for the domestic load has also been formulated. This strategy/plan is under field trial.
Villagers are slowly taking active participation mainly during weekly meetings and planning season and raising/solving their issues with
Community has understood the "Fee for Service" concept and willingly paying for the service. The demand for another 10kW gasifier has also been raised by the villagers as the entire demands are not being sufficed by the present one.
A group of women folks in the village has been formed who will be trained for making Dhona patta (leaf cups), another form of microenterprise.
4.1.2 Infrastructure Developments: As there was no Gram Panchyat
land nearby Radhapur village, hence, the land for the power plant has
been donated by a VEC member. It was quite but obvious that since e
has donated the land, he somehow would be leveraging the money of
that land, hence he himself opted for running an enterprise in the form
of Flour mill in the village.
The power house and the shade for the biomass has been constructed, fencing and other civil work such as earthing for the plant and the village supply has been completed.
10kW biomass gasifier has been commissioned by M/S Ankur Scientific, the technology supplier in the village. Earlier this equipment was tested in TARA-gram Orchha (DA's site office) to see its performance and also to train field coordinator as well as a village operator in a controlled situation.
A 2 Hp motor driven biomass cuter has been installed and one villager has been engaged to ensure un-interrupted biomass supply on an enterprise mode.
Transmission and Distribution line, which passes through majority households and few critical wells, has been laid down. So far 22 household has got the connection by service cable, meter and MCB. Individual house owner is arranging their respective internal wiring.
As a technology component, tam has purchased a 2 HP two irrigation pumps and tested their performance, which will be used to provide paid irrigation services to those farmers who cannot afford to buy one.
4.1.3 Innovations: Under grass-root innovation we are trying to develop and field test the following ideas. These ideas will help to enhance the Plant Load Factor (PLF) and will promote energy efficiency concepts within the community:
Charged battery (12V, 60Ah to 150Ah) service model for off grid domestic supply: This would be packaged service to the villagers when the plant is not operating or providing load for the irrigation.
Mobile irrigation model with charged batteries and DC pump to enhance Plant Load Factor: This particular service is for those who have no possible direct access to meter connection through pole. The idea of sprinkler irrigation system is also there which will reduce the tension of scanty rainfall and will enhance the agricultural growth of the village.
Single phase motor run portable biomass cutter: Currently a 3 HP motor run biomass cutter is in performance, which is unnecessary
wastage of power when that can be done by a single phase, 1 HP mobile and portable cutter. The machine has been tested in TARAgram-Orchha and has been advised for certain modification. The person engaged for the service can cut the woody biomass directly in the forest and supply the chopped one to the operator.
Repair of defunct biogas plant: People had already been motivated for repairing their defunct biogas plant (Deenbandhu Model) that is already installed in some 13 household. The villagers need to be more educated about its operating and maintenance mechanism of the biogas plant. Since it was already installed in the village, the intricacy level for the model to be again in functional mode won't take much time.
In light of the example of Radhapur, we outline some general recommendations for an efficient use of renewable energy sources and sustainable development practices. The creation of consuming-networks is important for the Radhapur gasifier technology market. This might be in the form of micro enterprise development and their entitlements with local and national banks and the local government. Promotion strategy should not neglect the intrinsic characteristics of the society's mindset. Within this strategy, the role of key actors in each region should be identified, as well as the specific mindset of the society. Hence, the adoption of innovative systems by local people and the developer is easier, if:
> VECs strengths are easily formed and revealed (advantages brought from the system are evident at a good value for collecting revenue for the connection from each household).
> There is compatibility between the technology and the existing infrastructure such as the promotion of power for irrigation.
> There is a tremendous potential to assess the outcome of the system.
> Procedures for the system's implementation are simplified but everything ruled and commissioned.
> Specific local conditions (dense and cohesive networks between the developer and the society exists).
The concrete strategy should be accompanied crystal clear objectives for the action plan. Even though the overall objective of the project and implimentation has been shaped with the VEC and the villagers, here are certain recommendations based on the analysis in the context of techno-socio intervention. The following suggestions might help in smooth functioning of the technology and will deficiently paved road creating sustainability:
Capacity building of the VEC: First and foremost is there should be capacity building if the VEC members and training for the following effort:
O Account and collect revenue from the villager.
O Manage the service and load management system
O Practices safety measures in electricity use
O Perform the bank transaction (deposition and withdrawal)
O Innovate possible intervention for income generation at the village Sharing of responsibilities among the present VEC members, that is development of social structure.
Some scope assessed for income generating activities at Radhapur Oil expeller
Inhabitants of Radhapur village are somewhat lucky as they produce groundnut in their field. It is rich in edible oil content, which can be derived manually using an motor operated oil expeller. This will add a value to their produce. Women in particular and even men can be engaged in this activity. Additional advantage could be by way of reducing the physical drudgery for the village womenfolk and raising of some nominal income for the gasifier plant.
Making of leaf cup (dhona patha)
There is nothing unusual in collecting the fallen leaves from a forest area. However, when the same leaves are a saleable commodity, a proper marketing approach is needed.
At the moment, a small women group has been formed in the village that will be given training for making leaf cups by hand for an open market sale.
The objective is to engage the services of the biomass supplier and increase his wage as he would be providing leaves also for making of leaf cups. The charges payable vis-a-vis the oil seed extraction and cup making should be decided in consultation with the Village Energy Committee.
The above said activities if, initiated could lead to a long term sustainability of distributed generation based power systems like a biomass gasifier system in the present case.
Provision of penalties and liabilities: There should be provision of penalty for late payment and tampering with the electrical wirings and supply material. The villagers should be well-informed and educated that the proper running of the gasifier is possible only when they think rationally. Everybody should be liable for the proper working and safety of the system.
Alternate operator: Even though a trained operator is there in the village, an alternate operator again form the villagers only should be trained and made skilful for operating the gasifier.
Safe guard of the power house: VEC should see that there is proper safety of the power house particularly in the night, when everybody is sleeping. As the village is at very remote area surrounded by forest, the question of safety comes automatically. It might be another form of income generation for somebody as a 'Guard'.
Frankly speaking, it is very hard to draw a general conclusion right away at this point of study when lots of the things and activities are yet to be ground tested. In order to sustain the traditional knowledge in the present era of technological changes and market competition the villagers also needs to upgrade and improve their traditional knowledge.
Through the process of dialogic mode of knowledge based interactions, it was found out that for the smooth running of the gasifier system, the community should be encouraged more focused and continued in future. It is also seen through the process of social interaction and intervention, that the capacity building of leaders is required. A strengthened VEC needs well-defined structure, responsible and committed leaders, right and proper facilitation, activities which would provide direct and immediate benefit to the members of villagers.
One thing that can be drawn from the study in the context of Techno-social intervention is that, while promoting any new technology to a remote village like Radhapur, you have to bring your mindset at the level of the villagers. This means you have to think the way the villagers are thinking and then explaining and clearing their queries. The finding of the study indicates that the desi power system has made a very positive impact on the life of the villagers of Radhapur. The consumers now have understood the "Fee for Service" concept. At one hand women empowerment has been initiated while on the other microenterprise in the form of Biomass cutter has been formed, a step towards economic development of the village. Down the track the process of entitlements of the income generating options will definitely bring an economic boom in the village. As the revenue model is yet to be ground implemented, it will be very early to say anything about its sustainability. I would therefore like to conclude my report by the quoting the following word:
Annexure I Load Management for Radhapur Power Plant
Decentralized power generation based on local renewable energy sources is a great boon to a power starving hitherto undeveloped rural areas like a village Radhapur. But this is not without many formidable challenges. Load management is such one challenge. This becomes more conspicuous in case of fluctuating demand when major demand is for irrigation where agriculture is of seasonal nature.
The climatic variation over the year gets reflected in a demand for electricity. Limitations of technology and lack of intense socio-technological integration exacerbate the problem.
Responsive (to needs) and efficient load management can solve the problem. Assumptions
Load management is done taking into account certain assumptions as this is going to be a future endeavor.
1. Maximum assured safe load which gasifier (of 10 kW capacity) can take at any given time is 8 kW only
2. Requirements: The priority wise requirements of electricity are mainly for irrigation, enterprises and domestic loads with following non-negotiable
a. House hold electricity for certain stipulated hours particularly at
b. Electricity supply for irrigation as per the agriculture need
c. Electricity supply timing for enterprises (such as flour mill) will be
either clients driven or profit driven so as to ensure min production
3. Gasifier will run for maximum 12 -14 hrs per day
4. The electricity supply to enterprises will be as per availability and not as per their respective demands
5. As agriculture and many of enterprises are seasonal nature, priority of supply (load and timing) will vary accordingly
Load management as per seasons
Based on seasonal demand we have considered four (04) scenarios as described below:
Demand specialty
During rain fed cultivation (mainly ground nuts), due to delay or unavailability of monsoon, priority will be given to irrigation to ensure good
Rainy season with irrigation (July to October):
Though during this season priority will be given to irrigation load but Aata chakki and Dona-patt making enterprises are the two known enterprises will get connection during this season along with domestic
Consumption pattern will be as follows
1) Domestic load: Total connected load 3284 W for 4 hrs per day i.e. a demand of 13 unit per day
2) Irrigation Load: Total connected load 8964 W for 5 hrs per day i.e. a demand of 45 unit per day
3) Enterprises Load: Total connected load 5976 W for 4 hrs per day i.e. a demand of 23 units per day. Enterprise load will include Aata chakki and Dona pattal making.
Total Gasifier running hour: 5+4+4= 13 hrs per day Total energy consumption: 13+45+23= 81 units per day
Winter Season with maximum irrigation (Oct-Jan)
During this season demand for electricity for irrigation will be maximum because of agricultural need which arise mainly from wheat (5-6 irrigation of 6 to 7 hours per Ac) and mustard (3-4 irrigation of 6 hrs per
In this season irrigation load is maximum. This will be very crucial season for entire livelihood and timeliness of irrigation will be the deciding factor for sustainability local economy
Consumption pattern will be as follows
1) Domestic load: Total connected load 2448 W for 4 hrs per day i.e. a demand of 9.7 unit per day
2) Irrigation Load: Total connected load 8964 W for 7 hrs per day i.e. a demand of 63 unit per day
3) Enterprises Load: Total connected load 8217 W for 4 hrs per day i.e. a demand of 33 units per day. Enterprise load will include Aata chakki and Dona pattal making.
Total Gasifier running hour: 7+4+3+4= 18 hrs per day Total energy consumption: 9.7+63+33= 105.7 units per day
Load Scheduling
Summer Season with minimum irrigation (March-June)
During this season demand for electricity for domestic purpose will be maximum. Because of availability of electricity the third Zayad crop will also be possible and some of the farmers will go for the same with some energy efficient irrigation devices. So the electricity demand for zayad crop will be there, though for less area (Estimated 20 acres) will be under cultivation due to limited availability of ground water.
Consumption pattern will be as follows
1) Domestic load: Peak connected load 3248 W for 10 hrs per day
i.e. a demand of 19 unit per day
2) Irrigation Load: Total connected load 8964 W for 2 hrs per day i.e. a demand of 18 unit per day
3) Enterprises Load: Total connected load 8217 W for 4 hrs per day i.e. a demand of 33 units per day. Enterprise load will include Aata chakki, besan and Dona pattal making.
Total Gasifier running hour: 2+4+10= 16 hrs per day Total energy consumption: 19+18+33= 70 units per day
Load Scheduling
The entire spectrum of load management is an out come of series of participatory planning process where villagers share their experiences and expectation. Though we have considered all practical (technical and social) parameters while developing load management/scheduling charts, we still feel that the following limitations may arise
¢ The foremost limitation is that we (VEC) do not have the control over absolute demand. We at the most can streamline the demand
¢ Domestic load assumed while calculation is the highest possible load immerged out from door- to -door survey. But actual penetration of domestic market will be slow and will be dependent of various other factors such as quality of energy service, agriculture productivity, success full implementation of value added enterprises and the disposable income villagers will have
¢ Managing irrigation load at a peak demand is really a formidable challenge and becomes the socio-economic function from mere techno-social function.
¢ The entire scheme of load management is based on assumptions which even might vary in practice.

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