A.J. Vinayak

Mangalore, June 21

THE Rural Energy Delivery Companies (Redco) Alliance, comprising representatives from 11 countries, has set a target of reaching 7.5 lakh rural households with energy services by 2010. Nearly 1.25 lakh rural households in India will be covered under this plan.

The recently concluded South-South Redco Exchange Programme at Dharmasthala in Dakshina Kannada district focused deliberations on the role of private redcos in expanding energy service to rural areas, particularly with solar energy.

Dr Harish Hande, Managing Director of Selco Solar Light Pvt Ltd and one of the organisers of Redco Exchange Programme, told Business Line here on Tuesday that one-lakh rural households in the member countries would be covered with energy services by next year.

Till now, the Redco Alliance members have installed 1.6 lakh solar home systems in countries such as Bangladesh, Bolivia, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Morocco, Nepal, Nicaragua, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda, apart from India.

Stating that Redco Alliance would like to create a sustainable linkage between the energy service providers and micro-finance institutions to reach rural households, he said, "The basic aim is to couple an energy service product with an appropriate finance product."

Asked about the role of subsidy component in promoting rural energy services such as solar systems, he said that it depended on how the subsidy is being implemented.

"While capital subsidy has hampered all the members of the Alliance in one way or the other, interest subsidy has helped a couple of them to create sustainable organisations. The Redco Alliance will pressure World Bank and Asian Development Bank to promote interest incentives in various countries through micro-finance institutions," he said.

Dr Hande said that Redco Alliance members are creating innovative enterprises to expand energy service in rural areas. The main intention is to take the modern energy services to the underserved. The Alliance will help create best practices leading to faster access of energy services to the underserved as such a move will help create more redcos, he said.

The Alliance has decided to proceed under a formal working arrangement among its members for mutual support and joint rural energy initiatives, he added.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated June 22, 2005)
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