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Another Look at Renewables on India’s Sagar Island

  • Sam Shrank
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    Much existing literature champions renewables implementation on India’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 island’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 – the harmonious tariff collection associated with community management and the resources, competence, and assertiveness of WBREDA itself – 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 projects—and their attendant benefits—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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    Date of creation: Aug 2008
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    Handle: RePEc:ess:wpaper:id:1619
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    1. Banerjee, Rangan, 2006. "Comparison of options for distributed generation in India," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 101-111, January.
    2. Bhattacharyya, Subhes C., 2006. "Energy access problem of the poor in India: Is rural electrification a remedy?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(18), pages 3387-3397, December.
    3. Chakrabarti, Snigdha & Chakrabarti, Subhendu, 2002. "Rural electrification programme with solar energy in remote region-a case study in an island," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 33-42, January.
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