Search on the site:

Facebook INFORSE  Facebook INFORSE-Europe Facebook INFORSE-Europe   Follow INFORSE Twitter
About Us Contact Us

Member Database

Contact Database Support Us
  Eco-Village Development 2015-22
  Low-Carbon Strategies 2014-16
  Southern Voices 2011-14
Poverty Reduction 2005-08
  United Nations
  Positions - Press Releases
  Eco-Village Development
  Southern Voices '14
  Manual'08: Solutions
  Manual'08: Financing
  Reports'08: Situation
  Success Stories
  Useful Links

Sustainable Energy Solutions to Reduce Poverty in South Asia

Sustainable Energy Choices and Value of Choosing the Right RET Solution

Energy is one of the major parameters for establishing growth and progress of the country; rather the standard of living depends upon the per capita energy consumption. Most of energy on the earth is received from the sun. Solar energy creates circulation of wind and ocean water, causes water evaporation and consequent precipitation. Plants use solar energy for photosynthesis and store carbohydrates, protein, fats, oils, alcohols, cellulose and lignin. Humans and animals consume plant materials as primary food to utilize its digestive energy.

While energy is not considered as one of the basic human needs but it positively contributes in the fulfillment of all basic and most essential needs for the survival of man kind. For example one can not think of achieving food and water security; sustainable livelihood for the poor; provide sustainable health services; capacity building, through effective information dissemination and communication services for awareness, up-gradation of knowledge & skills, and imparting appropriate education etc; for the empowerment of the local people in the South Asian and other developing countries, with out first achieving the self sufficiency in energy. Therefore, it can hardly be overemphasized the role of energy services as the key inputs to all the inputs required for the survival of human being and realizing of the developmental goals. Majority of developing countries have to first tackle the energy poverty to be able to combat the wider issue of hunger and poverty, and to achieve positive results in an effective manner.

The energy supply and consumption pattern of a country therefore is a vital indicator of the degree of development. At the same time the prevailing trends of energy supply and consumption do seem to disintegrate the very system that it tries to develop thus negating the global development efforts leading towards un-sustainability. The current concerns on green house gas (GHGs) leading to climatic change, acid rains, resource depletion, environmental pollution, unprecedented escalations in energy price, loss of biodiversity, land degradation, soil erosion, deforestation and associated health hazards are some of the examples. In order to mitigate the negative impacts of energy consumption based on depleting, non-renewable, polluting and un-viable fossil fuel and realizing the goals of achieving sustainable development, an increasing share of the energy supply must come from, non-polluting, environmentally benign, people’s-friendly, non-depleting, locally-available, renewable energy resources, such as biomass, solar & wind etc. In addition, the available energy has to be conserved and used more efficiently and judiciously than being used at present.

Analysis of the major distribution of major energy forms in many of the South Asian countries reveals that non-commercial renewable energy meets the energy needs of majority of the people living in the villages, more specifically the rural poor, but in a traditional and inefficient manner at present. Therefore, the new renewable energy technologies (RETs) disseminated for adoption, diffusion and internalization by the rural masses need to be improved for efficient utilization and convenience which necessitate selection of right solutions depending on the context of each country, as well as a particular region with in the country.

The chart below gives the commercial and renewable energy use pattern of four South Asian countries:

South Asian Countries
Percentage of Renewable Energy (mainly in traditional and inefficient manner)
Sri Lanka

The broad break-up of major energy forms in India are, 65% non-commercial energy, 15% human and animal energy, where as, the use of commercial energy is 20%- thus, the 80% of the rural energy needs of India is met from renewable sources, mainly biomass in a traditional an inefficient manner.

The contribution/share of renewable energy in the rural areas of Sri Lanka is 63%.

For the year 2003/04, total rural energy consumption of Nepal was 288 million GJ of which the rural residential consumed 97%. From end use perspective, out of the total energy consumed in rural Nepal, the 63.9% was used for cooking, heating accounted for 8.5%, lighting 1.31%, agro processing 3.4%, animal feed preparation 16.5% and others such as religious occasions and ceremonies 4.3%.

More than 80% of total population of the country lives in rural areas. At present major portion of total energy needs is met by locally produced biomass fuels which is mostly consumed in the house hold sector for cooking, ongoing rural electrification program meets a small portion of total energy needs. Only 30% (10% rural & 20% urban) people are receiving conventional electricity and 70% are deprived of it. The share of renewable energy in the rural areas of Bangladesh is estimated to be 95%.

Back to the Contents