Another Look at Renewables on Indiaâ€™s Sagar Island
Much existing literature champions renewables implementation on Indiaâ€™s Sagar Island as an unqualified rural electrification success story. Photovoltaic (PV) and wind systems put in place by the West Bengal Renewable Energy Development Agency (WBREDA) have clearly brought benefits to many of the islandâ€™s residents. The Sagar Island experience identifies some deeper liabilities of the business model guiding the renewables projects. Two of the ostensible strengths of the Sagar Island implementation â€“ the harmonious tariff collection associated with community management and the resources, competence, and assertiveness of WBREDA itself â€“ can at the same time be considered weaknesses limiting the scope, sustainability, and replicability of the projects. This working paper considers these questions through a case study of a typical Sagar Island facility, the Mritunjoynagar PV power plant. For WBREDA and other agencies to sustain and replicate similar projectsâ€”and their attendant benefitsâ€”throughout India, they must adjust their economic model, as WBREDA is beginning to implicitly acknowledge in exploring a franchise model for future efforts. [PESD WP 77]
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