Environmental campaign agency Greenpeace said Nitish Kumar, former chief minister of Bihar, has praised its micro-grid solar project in Jehanabad district.
“Elated to see homes, shops and streets lit up at night, Kumar praised Greenpeace and the unique energy model, upholding it as a crucial step towards rural electrification of Bihar,” the agency said in a statement.
Kumar had visited the project on Monday. In a meeting between Nitish Kumar and Greenpeace on 16 May, 2012, the then chief minister had suggested that Greenpeace should display the viability of a clean energy micro-grid through a pilot project that his government was willing to replicate across the state.
Built at a cost of Rs 3 crore, the 100kW micro-grid in Dharnai provides 24×7 electricity to 450 households, 50 commercial establishments, 60 streetlights, two schools, one health centre and one Kisan Training Centre. Besides this, 10 solar irrigation pumps also run on the micro-grid.
“It is very encouraging to see that Greenpeace has successfully demonstrated the viability of renewable energy by setting up a micro-grid that provides clean power to an entire village. This will definitely play a vital role in transforming the energy sector of Bihar,” Shaibal Gupta, Secretary, ADRI, said, at the public function in the village.
“We hope that after witnessing the merit of this project, the state government would fulfill its promise of replicating Dharnai-like models across the state and deliver power to all those who are currently living without it,” Manish Ram, Senior Campaigner, Renewable Energy, Greenpeace India, said.
“Billion units of electricity is produced in this country everyday but it never reaches the villages and towns of poor states like Bihar because they are not connected to the country’s energy infrastructure or the national grid. To stop this energy injustice, Greenpeace had advocated to the Bihar government that it must not depend on central power supply but produce its own electricity at smaller, village-levels using clean energy,” Ram added.
Home to one of India’s most fertile lands and a large labour force, Bihar has the potential to become the country’s next centre of agricultural and industrial growth. However, lack of electricity continues to remain a critical issue, posing as an impediment in the growth of Bihar. But with Nitish Kumar’s visit to Dharnai, the state government has reaffirmed its commitment and willingness to adopt models that can quickly overcome Bihar’s severe energy crunch.