Rockefeller Foundation to set up 1,000 mini power grids

PTI New Delhi | Updated on November 09, 2014 Published on November 09, 2014

In its efforts to provide electricity for India’s rural population, the Rockefeller Foundation is working on a $100 million (Rs 614 crore) initiative to establish 1,000 mini power grids in the next three years.

The first 30 mini grids are expected to be set up, mostly in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, by the end of this year, according to a senior official of the foundation.

The foundation, which works for betterment of human lives in different parts of the world, would be putting in USD 65 million (nearly Rs 400 crore) for the mini grids initiative.

“Our contribution will be USD 65 million but the total cost will be higher. Total cost would be around USD 100 million for 1,000 mini grids,” the foundation’s Associate Vice President and Managing Director (Asia Program Team) Ashvin Dayal told PTI.

The projects would have equity participation from companies.

Generally, a mini power grid would help cater to 150-250 households with about 1,000 people. The amount of electricity such grids can carry would be in the range of 65-75 kilowatt hours.

Setting up of mini grids would help in increasing electrification in India where about 53 million households are without access to power.

“We are not going to provide grant funding completely...

We will be providing concessional debt, grant financing for additional support that is needed. Companies will put in their own finance,” Dayal said.

While the first set of 30 mini grids would be ready by the end of this year, the foundation has set a target of setting up 200 such grids by 2015 end.

“By end of 2017, we expect to have 1,000 mini grids,” Dayal said.

For these mini grids, the foundation would focus on districts in Bihar, Eastern Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Orissa, among other states.

The foundation has been experimenting with two to three pilot projects in India for the past two years.

“We are working with a set of companies which will actually establish and operate mini grids either as generators or generators and distributors or just as distributors. We are working with NGOs for community engagement...,” Dayal said.

The foundation also had initial discussions with the ministries of power as well as new and renewable energy.

The government — which is working on a multi-pronged strategy to boost fuel supplies, ramp up power generation and increase transmission networks — aims to provide electricity for everyone by 2019.

Published on November 09, 2014

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