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The trials and tribulations of the Village Energy Security Programme (VESP) in India


  • Palit, Debajit
  • Sovacool, Benjamin K.
  • Cooper, Christopher
  • Zoppo, David
  • Eidsness, Jay
  • Crafton, Meredith
  • Johnson, Katie
  • Clarke, Shannon


The Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) launched the Village Energy Security Programme (VESP) in 2004 but discontinued it during the 12th Five Year Plan, starting in 2012, after a series of unexpected challenges. Planners structured the program so that a village energy committee (VEC) ran a decentralized village program involving biomass gasifiers, straight vegetable oil (SVO) systems, biogas plants, and improved cookstoves. This suite of technologies was intended to produce electricity and thermal energy to meet the “total energy requirements” of rural communities. At the end of January 2011, a total of 79 VESP projects were sanctioned in 9 states and 65 of these projects were fully commissioned, yet more than half were not operational. The MNRE envisaged that the VESP would provide energy services to eradicate poverty, improve health, reduce drudgery, enhance education, raise agricultural productivity, create employment, generate income, and reduce migration. However, VESP projects have had limited success, and the trials and tribulations of the VESP offers important lessons for policymakers launching rural energy programs in India and other developing economies.

Suggested Citation

  • Palit, Debajit & Sovacool, Benjamin K. & Cooper, Christopher & Zoppo, David & Eidsness, Jay & Crafton, Meredith & Johnson, Katie & Clarke, Shannon, 2013. "The trials and tribulations of the Village Energy Security Programme (VESP) in India," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 407-417.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:57:y:2013:i:c:p:407-417
    DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2013.02.006

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Sovacool, Benjamin K., 2017. "Contestation, contingency, and justice in the Nordic low-carbon energy transition," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 569-582.
    2. Sovacool, Benjamin K. & Ryan, Sarah E., 2016. "The geography of energy and education: Leaders, laggards, and lessons for achieving primary and secondary school electrification," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 107-123.
    3. Comello, Stephen D. & Reichelstein, Stefan J. & Sahoo, Anshuman & Schmidt, Tobias S., 2017. "Enabling Mini-Grid Development in Rural India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 94-107.
    4. Sivarasu, S.R. & Chandira Sekaran, E. & Karthik, P., 2015. "Development of renewable energy based microgrid project implementations for residential consumers in India: Scope, challenges and possibilities," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 256-269.
    5. Palit, Debajit & Bandyopadhyay, Kaushik Ranjan, 2016. "Rural electricity access in South Asia: Is grid extension the remedy? A critical review," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 1505-1515.
    6. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:4:p:1058-:d:139347 is not listed on IDEAS

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    Energy poverty; Rural energy; Biomass;


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